Tim Johnson, editor
April 10, 2005
from Our own Pew
In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to a man, who, before traveling to a far country, delivered his goods to his servants for safe keeping while he was away. Being familiar with this parable, we know that one servant received five talents, another received two, and still another received one, "to every man according to his several ability." We also know that the servant who received five talents and the servant who received two talents gained as much as they had received, and were praised by their master upon his return. "Well done, good and faithful servant," was their master's reaction to each one. However, the master was greatly displeased with the third servant, who did nothing with what his master entrusted him, but buried it in the earth. "Thou wicked and slothful servant," was the master's reaction. We know that this servant was severely punished while the first two servants were rewarded.
What do you think of when you hear that someone is wicked? Do you think this person is a murderer, a thief, a sexually immoral person, a drunkard, or even a liar? As far as we know, the "one-talent" man was none of these. Would you think of a person who just did nothing with what he was given as wicked? In our society, a person who is just downright lazy is thought of as "low-down, good for nothing." But they're usually not thought of as a wicked person and they're certainly not bad enough to be categorized in the same company as murderers, thieves, adulterers, drunkards, etc. Yet, this is what our Lord is trying to convey in this parable.
The "one-talent" man was labeled as slothful, which means lazy. We, too, can fall into this category if we do not faithfully use the abilities, possessions, time, etc. that God has given us in His service, but lazily cast off responsibility to others. This is the same as burying what God has entrusted unto us in the earth. Upon His return, we will hear "Thou wicked and slothful servant," and we will be punished just as the "one-talent" man. But, if we faithfully use what God has entrusted unto us, we will hear those wonderful words, "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy lord."
What kind of servant are you?
-- Tim Johnson
Jesus was big on being little. On one occasion, when His disciples were arguing about who among them would be the greatest, He told them that "he who is least among you all will be great" (Luke 9:48). The Greek word translated "least" or "little" in this verse is "mikros" from which we get the English prefix "micro." Jesus encouraged His disciples to be "micro" people.
Humility is not easy to define or possess. In truth, most people seem to think that humility involves pretending to be less than they actually are. This kind of false humility is practiced by not letting on to others how great we think we really are. We see ourselves as great, but we don't toot our own horn, so that makes us humble. Does it? Is that what humility is?
Years ago, a well-known Protestant evangelist named Harry Ironside became convicted and concerned about his lack of humility. A friend recommended as a remedy, that he march through the streets of Chicago wearing a sandwich board, shouting the scripture verses on the board for all to hear. Ironside agreed to this venture and when he returned to his study and removed the board, he said "I'll bet there's not another man in town who would do that." Wearing humility like we'd wear a sign only makes us more proud. We miss the meaning of humility entirely if we see Peter's admonition to be "clothed with humility" (1 Peter 5:5) as merely requiring us to put on something outwardly that does not reflect our inner man.
I submit to you that humility begins when a person sees himself as he truly is before God Almighty, and behaves accordingly. It does not entail pretending to be less or more than we are. When we see ourselves as we are, we will know that we are truly little, and our thoughts and actions will reflect this knowledge. "And what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?" (Micah 6:8).
-- By Steve Klein
A recently popular song contained a statement about worship that is deserving of examination. The line was "When we can all worship form our own kind of pew, we shall be free."
Indeed, freedom to worship God however we would like to worship Him sounds like real freedom to man. Yet, the Bible calls it something different. In quoting from the Old Testament, Jesus Christ said of some of His Jewish brethren, "This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men" (Mark 7:6-7).
Man has always sought to replace God's will for worship with his own ideas and agenda. The Scriptures refer to this as "vain worship."
Here is an important question for us all to consider on the matter of worship - Who is it for? If it is for God whom we are seeking to honor, shouldn't we worship the way that He wants us to, the way that is revealed in the Bible? Yet, if we are trying to please ourselves, then by all means we should tailor our religion to suit our personal tastes. The problem with this is that God is the one who deserves our praise. Romans chapter 1 condemns people who worship and serve "&ldots;the creature rather than the Creator&ldots;" (vs. 25).
Freedom comes not by doing our will, but the will of our God. When we worship our way, we sin, Sin enslaves; it never liberates.
by Philip Mullins