Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Pursuit of Happiness

I think it would be weird if my dad were President.  Granted, I'd probably be following a hobbit-like eating schedule and running through the halls of the White House, but to hear people calling him Mr. President would just be strange.  Whereas, I would have total access and be able to enjoy his company and know him for who he is, others would be setting up appointments to see him and trying to impress him with this or that out of fear or respect.

Our relationship with the Father is similar.  How we relate to Him determines how we live in Him.  Do we love or fear God?  Jesus brings out this important distinction in the Parable of the Talents.

Let's begin with the third guy.  When it's his turn to show and tell, he comes with only the money that was given him.  Look at his response, "I knew you that were a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed.  So I was afraid . . ."  This man's picture of his master, or God, is that of a taskmaster who makes others do all the heavy lifting.  In fact, he's so scared he uses parallelism to emphasize his point.

Angrily, the master responds by telling the servant if that's what he thought of him, then why didn't he follow through on his belief.  The servant was a hypocrite.  Knowing what he thought he knew about his master, the servant's fear produced nothing more than a hole in the ground.

The master's reaction is much different with the other two servants.  He not only congratulates them, but, interestingly enough, he doesn't take away what they produced.  The master must have missed the final servant's memo warning that he takes what he hasn't sown.  Also, he tells the two good servants to share in his happiness.  Far from being a "hard man", he desires relationship.  They knew him as a generous and loving man.

The conclusion of this parable reminds me a lot of Matthew 5:21-23:
Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord," will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father in heaven.  Many will say to me, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?"  Then I will tell them plainly, "I never knew you.  Away from me, you evildoers!"
 We have a choice to serve God out of fear or to live in His love.  One will end in, "I never knew you," and the other in, "Come and share in your master's happiness!"  Living loved produces far greater fruit.

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