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Wednesday: The Settling of Accounts — 8 Comments

  1. Among my atheist friends there appear to be two main philosophies of life. The first group flaunts the idea that they can do what they like. There is no divine scorekeeper. If it feels good, do it! They live a hedonistic lifestyle of drugs, sex, and drunkenness and have little care about what they do to others. Any reaping of their harvest will come after they are dead, so who cares!

    The second group adopts a more cautious approach to life believing that history or mankind will judge them for their actions. They have a notion that they are part of something and that their actions will have consequences even when they are dead.

    I think that as Christians, most of us would resonate more with the second group. We would like to add a bit of "Jesus talk" to the mix but essentially we are on the same wavelength. Our actions have consequences; our decisions have ramifications; our seeds bear fruit; and our bills have to be paid.

    Several years ago I bought a smart watch. I bought it mainly so I could keep a count of how far I was walking each day, but it also came with a security chip that could be linked to my credit card. At the time I did a trip to outback Australia. Way out west, beyond the black stump, and hundreds of kilometers from civilisation I filled the Troopy with diesel and went to the counter to pay the bill. The young attendant asked me how I was paying and was surprised when I waved my watch over the card reader, and, "Ping", she had been paid. She was wowed by the technology and her response was, "I want one of those!" We had a little conversation about the technology and in parting, I said, "There is one thing I have got to remember. The watch does not pay. Ultimately my bank account has to pay up!"

    What is the message of the parable of the talents to those of us who believe we are saved by grace? I propose that the real message is that presumption does not save us. It is not how much you do that counts but rather that you have an active relationship with the one that saves. You cannot be touched by Jesus and do nothing.

  2. It wouldn't be much out of reality to say that due to my sinful nature, before God, I'll always be "short". But I do not want to focus on this, because I have a Jesus Who is able to complete what's missing in me, and finish the work He Himself has started!

    Then, whenever God decides to "settle accounts" with me, I want to be standing and boldly say "here it is double of what You entrusted me!"

  3. A "Mina" is only worth .84 cents. But a "Talent" is worth about $400,000.00. The parable of the "Minas" is different in many ways from the parable of the "Talents." So, did Ellen G. White expound on the parable of the "Minas" at all? The talent parable is about three servants, and the one that buries it gets destroyed. The parable of the minas is about 10 servants and none of them get destroyed, not even the one that places his mina on a napkin, and only the citizens that did not want their new King to rule over them get destroyed.

    • Hi, Pete. I think it is important to read the parables for the point or points being made, and not make too much of the incidentals. What might the implications be, when the fellow has his one mina taken away? No reward for him, right? In reality, we know what that means. He must have been one who didn't want the King ruling over him.

      About the "84 cents:" Honestly, I don't know what methods commentators use for these sorts of calculations. Often, they are far off reality, or at least a century out of date.

      It appears there were 60 minas in a shekel, which was worth about 3 denarii. A labourer would work 12 hours for one denarius (worth about 20 minas), according to the parable of the workers in the vineyard. From this, I calculate that a person would work 36 minutes for one mina. At $15 an hour, that would be nine dollars ($9) in today's US money.

      • Thank you for this, R.G. White, However, I do agree with Ellen G. White that the "Talent" parable has to do more with temporal blessings. And the "Minas" one, I do believe, has to do more with "Spiritual Gifts" of believers, judging by the great differences between those two parables. 84 cents may not be much in terms of money, but it is way "more than money" as per monetary value as a spiritual gift even here. $400,000 can purchase a lot of temporal blessings here and even multiply as well but it can not save a soul at all like a spiritual gift can.

  4. As I look at the story of the 3 servants, at the very base of the story, I see two servants who knew their master and were eager to add to what he had entrusted to them. The 3rd servant didn’t really know the master and seems actually resentful toward him. So I have to ask myself, “How well do I know my master?” Am I going to be eager to see him, or will I be resentful and think that he asked too much of me?

  5. The one who got 1 talent and didn't do anything with it came up with an excuse by accusing God of being a hard master. The lesson says the parable applies to the worldly possessions God has entrusted to us, not necessarily our spiritual gifts. It doesn't matter if we have $1 in our pocket or more than that. We should spend it wisely. The $1 still belongs to God and he wants to know did we use it honestly, profitable, fairly, usefully for his cause or not.

  6. Everything we have is a gift from God - Time, money, abilities, relationships etc

    Time - How we spent our time. Productive and positive vs. wasting it on things that don't matter.

    Money - How we spent our money. Whether we used it honourably vs. for selfish purposes.

    Abilities - How we used our abilities. Whether we were helping others vs. just helping ourselves.

    Relationships - How we treated others. Whether we showed love, kindness, compassion vs. hurtful behaviour.

    Hopefully we will all hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” - Matthew 25:21


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