The Gospel reading from last Sunday was the parable of the servants and the talents. It has been my contemplation all week. The Master (God) gave to each according to their ability.
He gave to them based on his expectations. He didn't expect much of one, expected a mediocre return from another, and expected much from the third.
While this parable causes us to contemplate many aspects of our life - our spiritual gifts, or tangible gifts, and our hearts, it is speaking of money, and the behavior as it relates to money is a frequent Gospel theme.
I know in my own life, especially in my 20's, I felt like I was being punished in times of poverty or less. There have been times I felt like the lack of resources was the devil trying to come against me. There have even been times I questioned why some were given so much and some so little.
When I discovered Dave Ramsey 18 yrs ago (Financial Peace University) I went to his seminar. In it he said something that began a change in me. He said, if we took all the money from the wealthy and gave it to the poor, then walked away, in two years the poor would be poor again and the wealthy would be returned to wealth. He spoke about this parable. People who are just bad stewards, typically remain bad stewards. People who are good stewards, increase.
I've heard that echoed many times since then, in Conservative Business, Financial reports and I see it borne out in my own life.
The parable has hope though.
Even though, God expects the servants to do what they have always done, He gives them a chance to do differently. So to it has been in my own life. Many, many, chances.
I can say that I have gone from being the "wicked lazy servant" to the one in the middle, to whom God gave two talents. But God desires to place all confidence in me. I need to root out the errors in my own discipline and habits and be the servant to whom God entrusts with the most.
Not there yet.
I know people get all fidgety when you talk about God and money. I still do a little. There is still a part of me that wants to make excuses. Our life savings was wiped out in Katrina. I have a chronic illness and many other life lessons. I'm resisting the impulse now to blame outside forces. Outside things are GOING to happen. How foolish to assume otherwise? I must live a life that accepts the reality of life events, hard times, and prepare. I am supposed to store up for those days. I am supposed to live below my means so that when those days come my house is built on rock not sand and washed away in the flood.
It's hard. So what. I am done making excuses.
This parable says something else. There is still time. You see right now, the Master is away. But the Master will return. When He does how will He find me?
The First Reading last Sunday was Proverbs 31 (I love how my church structures the readings and cycles. It's perfection)
This is why I work. The Proverbs 31 woman works without ceasing to enrich her family, to provide for the poor, to increase their holdings, to help her husband. I know I am also called to be at home, to homeschool, and to be a wife first. So was the Proverbs woman. In the last 15 years finding this balance has been my life's work. It's been so very good.
I know that God is telling me, His expectations of me have changed. He expects much more from me, and He desires to give me much more. To whom much is given, much is expected is true in reverse as well.
No more excuses. No more poor decisions which prevent me from being prepared for reality. My lamp will be on all night and when the Master returns, He will accept all that I have done with what He has given me and He will say, "Well done my good and faithful servant."
Here are the readings from last week btw