Guest Posts

Guest Post: A Portrait of the Heaven-Bound Slave

Since I’ve had to temporarily cut back on blogging I’ve asked some friends to contribute guest posts. If your theology pretty much matches up with mine (as outlined in the “Welcome” and “Statement of Faith” tabs) and you’d like to contribute a guest post, drop me an e-mail at MichelleLesley1@yahoo.com, and let’s chat about it.

Kesha talents

A Portrait of the Heaven-Bound Slave
By: Kesha Griffin

When you think of the character of a Christian, what comes to mind? For some, we may think of loving, patient, kindness, giving, self-less, etc. (at least I hope this describes most Christians you know). Although all of these characteristics are important, I think many of us overlook one trait that our Lord often spoke about and held in high regard…faithfulness. In fact, the Bible teaches us that faithfulness (to the Word, to God, to His work) is a mark of a true believer. Sadly, we often hear how faithful God is to us (and He is), but rarely hear about the importance of being a faithful servant to our Master.

The Parable of the Talent is a great depiction of a faithful Christian. In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus is speaking to His disciples about the kingdom of heaven and begins telling them this parable of the talents. The parable involves a master, his three slaves, and the master’s talents (a measurement of gold, silver, money, etc.).The master represents Christ and the slaves represent believers and unbelievers. The story as told by Jesus, says the master was going away on a journey, and entrusted his slaves with his talents to manage while he was away. When the master returns home from his journey, his slaves show him what they did with the talents they were given.

Let’s examine the slaves in more detail:

#1- The Slave’s Portion
The master gave each slave a talent. The talent did not belong to the slave, it was entrusted to the slave. It belonged to the master (vs 14). Also notice, that the master gave each slave the amount he wanted them to have; One slave had five talents, one had two talents, and the other slave was given one talent. Finally, notice that the amount of the talents given to each slave was given according to their own ability (vs 15). The slaves didn’t ask the master to give them a certain amount of talents, the master decided how much, and to whom.

#2- The Slave’s Character
In the parable, two of the slaves immediately went out and starting working. This implies they had a sense of urgency, didn’t waste any time, and were eager to do the work of their master. It also appears these slaves were hard-working, searched for opportunity, put in effort, for the Scripture says they “went and traded” (vs 16). Lastly, not only did these slaves spend their time working diligently for their master, they found opportunities to make more for their master. They both doubled what was initially given to them.

The parable also reveals the character of the last slave. Although this slave was only given one talent, he went away, dug a hole and hid the money (vs 18). This implies that he didn’t want to work, there was no sense of urgency, and no desire to please his master. In fact, the Scripture says, he was “lazy and wicked” (vs 26). After burying his talent in the ground, he must have spent the rest of his time doing…whatever he wanted to do. His life was free from toiling for his master, he could do as he pleased.

Not only was this slave lazy but he had several excuses as to why he didn’t work for his master. He blamed his master, to the point of attacking the master’s character, saying that his master was a “hard” man (vs 24), and he blamed fear, said he was afraid (vs 25). He also tried to cover up his lack of effort by presenting the master the one talent he was entrusted with, as if he honestly wanted to please his master (vs 25).

#3- The Slave’s Reward
The two slaves who diligently worked for their master, both doubled their portion originally entrusted to them. Notice that although one slave ended up with ten talents, and the other four talents, they both received the same reward. The master commended them both and gave them more. How thrilled the slaves must have been to fulfill their obligated duty to work for the master, and to be rewarded by Him for doing so. What joy to hear their master say “Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” (vs 21 and 23)

Sadly, the wicked and lazy slave received condemnation and punishment from the master (vs 26-28). The one talent he had was taken and given to the slave who had the most. His master called him a worthless slave and cast him into outer darkness, a place of “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (vs 30). How tragic.

It seems like a harsh punishment for a slave who was simply lazy right? Well, let me suggest that this lazy slave was not simply lazy. He is a depiction of an unbeliever. A person who is wicked, and who doesn’t have a relationship with the Master. Notice the slave didn’t want to work or even attempt to please the master (buried the talent in the ground). He didn’t appear to know (personally/intimately) the master well, he accused the master of being a hard man. He didn’t make the most of the talent that was given to him, not even investing it in the bank to gain interest (vs 27). He was disobedient, not wanting to do as the master instructed, and lived his life for himself, not for the master.

Faithfulness is a characteristic of a true believer. Although not perfectly, are we truly living for Jesus, working diligently to make the most of all he has given us (our time, spiritual gifts, money, etc.), like a faithful slave? Is it our goal to please our Master? When Jesus comes to “settle the account” with us, will we hear the Master say “Well done my good and faithful slave…enter in”?


Kesha LOVES finding hidden treasures buried in Scripture and learning how to apply them to daily living. Her heart’s desire is that every Christian woman is equipped with sound doctrine, so that she may know God truthfully and intimately, and learn how to fight life with the sword, the Word of God. Follow Kesha at treasuresbykesha.com and on Twitter: @MrsKeshaGriffin and @treasurebyKesha.


ALTHOUGH I DO MY BEST TO THOROUGHLY VET THE THEOLOGY OF THE BLOGGERS who submit guest posts, IT IS ALWAYS POSSIBLE FOR THINGS TO SLIP THROUGH THE CRACKS. PLEASE MAKE SURE ANY BLOGGER YOU FOLLOW, INCLUDING ME, RIGHTLY AND FAITHFULLY HANDLES GOD’S WORD AND HOLDS TO SOUND BIBLICAL DOCTRINE.
Obedience, Old Testament, Sovereignty of God, Sunday School

David and God’s Big Picture ~ Sunday School Lesson ~ 5-11-14

sunday school

These are my notes from my ladies’ Sunday School class this morning. I’ll be posting the notes from my class here each week. Click here for last week’s lesson.

Through the Bible in 2014 ~ Week 19 ~ May 4-10
1 Chronicles 13-18, 2 Samuel 5:11-9, Psalm 1-2, 15, 22-25, 47, 68, 89, 96, 100-101, 105, 132, 29, 33, 36, 39, 50, 53, 60, 75
David and God’s Big Picture

2 Samuel 7/1 Chronicles 17
This passage is the institution of the Davidic covenant: God’s promise to establish the throne of David forever through the eventual birth and reign of Jesus. God, in His sovereignty, had a plan that David was part of. A plan with farther reaching impact than just David’s life. But God’s call on David’s life was the same as His call on our lives: to love and serve Him faithfully wherever He has put us.

crown-and-thorns

2 Samuel 5:12
Right from the beginning of David’s reign, he recognized two very important things about his life that we should also recognize:

1. God is sovereign (1 Samuel 16:1-13, 1 Peter 2:9).
It was God who had made David king over Israel, not anything intrinsically worthy in David himself. Remember that when God chose David to be king back in 1 Samuel 16, David was just a shepherd in his late teens or early 20s. Nothing special. Just an average guy. In fact, God told Samuel not to pay attention to outward signs of “specialness” in David’s older brothers. He had his own reasons for choosing David.

In the same way, when God calls us out of darkness and into His marvelous light (1 Pet.) for salvation, it’s not because there’s anything intrinsically good in us. In fact, everything’s bad about us because we are drenched in sin. But for His own reasons, whatever they are, God has called us out to save us.

2. David’s life was not his own (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Matthew 20:28)
The second half of this verse does not say that “David knew… that the Lord had…exalted his kingdom” so David would be happy or comfortable or have a life of purpose. God established David’s kingdom “for the sake of His people Israel.” While God certainly blessed David along the way, God is about God. His main objective is His plans, His purposes, and His glory, not our happiness and contentment. This, of course, doesn’t mean He doesn’t care about us individually—far from it!

blurry-sky-cross1 Corinthians tells us our lives are not our own because we were bought with a price (the blood of Christ). We no longer belong to Satan, slaves of our sinful natures, living to gratify our own desires, pawns in his plan of trying to thwart God’s will. We belong to God to use as He sees fit for His plans and purposes.

One of the pitfalls of the American mindset is that it has taught us to focus on ourselves as individuals, often to the exclusion of what is good for our neighbors, our community, our state, nation, and world. We think in terms of “my rights,” “my enjoyment,” and “How will this affect me?” (Just so you know, I’m not a communist or a socialist when it comes to government. I’m just talking about this “me-centered” mentality.) This crosses over into our Christian lives. We often get so focused on our own lives, what we think God is or isn’t doing in them or with them, and how whatever He is doing is affecting us personally, that we forget that God has a huge plan for the entirety of human history and the universe. Whatever He’s up to right now may be about someone else, not you or me. We need to be more aware of God’s “big picture.”

As with David, God gives us our authority and circles of influence for the good of others, to bless them and serve them, even as Jesus came, not to be served but to serve, and to give His life for others (Matt. 20). The good news is that when we are on board with this, we get something much better than fleeting things like earthly happiness and comfort. We get eternal joy, peace, and a glimpse of the glory of God as we obey and cooperate with His plan.

You can’t always get what you want (2 Samuel 7:1- 7, 1 Samuel 13:14)
Because our lives are not our own, cooperating with God’s big picture plans sometimes means that we don’t get to do what we want to do, even if what we want to do is good and godly.

www-St-Takla-org--110--Solomon-Builds-the-Temple-3David was a “man after God’s own heart.” He loved the Lord and wanted to thank and honor Him by building Him a temple. What he wanted to do was an honorable and worshipful thing, and the motives of his heart were pure. But that was not the role God wanted David to play in the unfolding of His plan, nor was it the right time. The person God wanted to fulfill that part of His plan, at a later time, was Solomon.

As we discussed last week, seeking godly counsel is an important part of making godly decisions. David did this by consulting Nathan, the prophet. However, praying and asking for God’s guidance and wisdom is also essential before taking on something like building a temple, and both David and Nathan neglected to do so.

Graciously, even though they hadn’t come to God, God came to Nathan and explained things. God pointed out that in all this time, He had never asked anyone to build Him a permanent house. God had been just fine in a tent up to this point, and would be just fine until He decided it was time for Solomon to build the temple.

Sometimes, even if something is godly and part of God’s plan, He wants someone else to do it.

But you can always get what you need (2 Samuel 7:8-17, Luke 2: 26-33)
What David needed and what we need, is to be faithful and obedient to God wherever He has placed us. This doesn’t mean God will necessarily have us in the same place all our lives (though He might). After all, He took David from shepherd to warrior to king. But David served God faithfully in each of those positions for as long as God had him in those positions.

Ultimately, the role God wanted David to play in His plan was to be the king through whom God initiated the Davidic Covenant. Though David sought to build God a house, it was God who would build David a house (11, Luke 2). It would be an eternal house, first through his descendants who would be temporal kings, and, finally, through the Messiah, Jesus, who would reign forever and whose kingdom would know no end.

David’s Response (2 Samuel 7:18-29)

Humility (18-20)
David was overwhelmed by the fact that, though he wanted to do something big for God, God was going to do something big through him.

Exaltation (21-24)
David again recognized that it was God’s sovereignty that brought all this about, not his own awesomeness (21). He praised God’s greatness, holiness, and superiority to all else (22). He recounted God’s mighty deeds of the past and how He glorified Himself through His chosen people, Israel (23-24)

I’m in! (25-29)
David didn’t express doubt or hesitate to jump in with both feet. He didn’t whine that what he really wanted to do was build the temple. He embraced God’s plan obediently and joined in thankfully and wholeheartedly.

David glorified God for His “macro” plan (25-26) – the coming of the Messiah and everything leading up to it – and also for His “micro” plan (27-29) – realizing that if he cooperated with God’s plan, he and his family would be blessed along the way. Notice that David (29) did ask for God to bless his house and descendants, but not for personal/family gain. He asked that God would bless his family to fulfill and cooperate with God’s plan.

When God places us in any situation, whether blessing or hardship, our response should mirror David’s. We should be obedient to God, never stepping outside of His word to pursue things He doesn’t want for us, even if they seem godly. And, with humility and praise, we should embrace God’s plan, cooperating with Him joyfully.

What about all the non-Davids? (Exodus 12:37, Mark 7:37, 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12)
Sometimes when we read the Bible, we come to stories like David, Moses, Joshua, Noah, and Paul, and we can get the impression that God calls everyone to do great big things for Him as part of his plan. We tend to forget that when the Israelites left Egypt, there were likely 1.5 to 2 million of them. And only one Moses. By David’s time, there were likely several million Israelites. And only one David. What about the millions of Israelites who were born, grew up, got married, went to blue collar jobs every day, and died, having the-israelites-withoutlived lives of quiet faithfulness to God but never having had God make a covenant with them or being called to kill a giant or part a sea? Did God love them less? Value their love for Him less?

Why does God use some people in big, visible, fame-creating ways, and some in invisible ways? The answer, as is often the case when we’re dealing with God is, “I don’t know.” That’s one of the things that makes Him God and us not God. It’s his business, not ours. We trust that He does all things well (Mark 7) and that when He says that we are to “live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands” (1 Thess. 4), He means it, and that lives of quiet faithfulness are precious in His eyes.

 

God has a plan. All of us who are His children have a part to play in that plan. Our part, whether big and visible or quiet and invisible, is to love and trust Him more each day and live obediently and faithfully wherever He places us.