Is God a Hard Taskmaster?

Do we believe and trust God’s promise that He wants to bless us?

Depositphotos Image ID: 10941070 Copyright: magann

In the parable of the talents[1], Jesus says a master gave his servants different amounts of funding before he left on a long trip. The master gave one servant 10 talents and another servant 5 talents. Both of them invested their talents and made more talents. The master gave a third servant only one talent, and that servant buried his one talent in the ground.

When the master came back and asked for an accounting, the servant who buried his only talent in the ground told the master that he knew his master was a “hard taskmaster”, reaping where he did not sow and gathering where he scattered no seed. So, the servant said he was afraid and hid the talent in the ground.

The master got angry at the servant’s response, calling him wicked and slothful. Then the master took the one talent away from the servant, leaving him with nothing.

Stop and think about this parable for a bit. The servant who only received one talent was afraid the master was a hard taskmaster, and it seems he was! Is this supposed to be a parable of what God is like?

Is that what God is really like?

At other places in the Bible we see statements of God honoring the industrious and treating the slothful as wicked. It seems God desires us to be industrious, but is God really the hard taskmaster in the parable?

This parable is an allegory. A parable is meant to convey some truth to us, often about our relationship with God, so gaining understanding of what Jesus is saying here is important.

The parable of the talents seems to affirm that God gives people natural abilities in different measures. Such a thought is antithetical to post-modern sensibilities. In our post modern world, we aren’t just content with equal opportunities; we want strict equality across the board.

Though we often gloss over the reality that people are not all created equal in talent in polite and politically correct ways, we know that people have different talents of different types and different measures.  Some people are born with musical talent like Beethoven, and some people are born without limbs. But the difference in talents isn’t the focus of the parable.

Continue reading “Is God a Hard Taskmaster?”

Equality in the Economy of God

nicholas-2nd-in-state


“Culture tells us two great lies about success: you can be whatever you want to be, and you can be the best in the world.”

This was a statement in a newsletter I received. It couldn’t be truer. Not that we want to hear that sort of thing. We want to be told we “can do it”! And, we like believing the lie.

The truth is that we can’t all be the best. We can’t be whatever we want to be.

Just being real here.

I don’t want to buy into the lies. I want the truth, and I think most people (many people anyway) really want the truth. We get tired of the lies. Give me something I can stand on. I don’t want a pipe dream. Continue reading “Equality in the Economy of God”

The Eternal Consequence of Now

Sun by Me~

Every action, every decision we make in our lives has eternal consequence.

Do you believe that is true? Do you live like that is true? Think about it for a moment:

“For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:14)

God will bring every act to judgment.

Even the hidden things, the things that no one but I (you) know about is exposed to God. We cannot go anywhere that God is not present. (Psalm 139)

God knows our thoughts too. (Psalm 139:2) Jesus made it clear that anyone who is angry with his brother is guilty of murder (Matthew 5:21-22); and anyone who lusts after a woman is guilty of adultery (Matthew 5:27-28). Our thoughts are subject to the scrutiny of God as well as our actions.

If we would follow the example of Paul, we need to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Every action, every thought, has an eternal consequence. It should be no surprise, therefore, that inaction also has eternal consequence. Indeed, “to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17)

Believers who live by faith are not living under condemnation. “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ.” (Romans 8:1) But that is no license to go on sinning. (Romans 6:1) As Paul said, “How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:2)

We have been set free from sin, but where is the fruit? It is the fruit of this freedom that leads to sanctification and results in eternal life (Romans 6:22); if indeed we are attached to the vine that bears this fruit, we will bear fruit. Jesus sacrificed Himself and rose from the dead precisely so that we may bear fruit for God. (Romans 7:4)

God is looking for fruit from us.

Consider the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30 God does not give the same measure of talents to all of us, but he is looking for us to use what He gave us and not bury it in the ground. What we do with this time God has allotted us has eternal consequences.

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:15-17)

“[W]alk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” (Colossians 1:10)