Weighed in the Balances

With the new year fast approaching, so many are already beginning to think of resolutions. How will we spend the next year of our lives, and in what ways will we change what we’ve been doing before? Many of us focus on the practical, and speaking of which I came across a method of four helpful lists that resonated recently:

  • What is right? (Optimize it)
  • What is wrong? (Change it)
  • What is confused? (Verify it)
  • What is missing? (Add it)

I might just use this, it sounds like it could work well for me! In addition, there is a spiritual approach as well, and I came across one in my scripture reading this morning that I wanted to share. It’s found in Matthew chapter 25:14-29, within the parable of the talents, and in some ways reminds me of capost2k’s blog titled “How Will You Spend Your Dash?“:

14 “For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own servants and entrusted his possessions to them. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. 16 Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. 17 In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. 18 But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

19 “Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’

22 “Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’

24 “And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. 25 And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’

26 “But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. 27 Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. 28 Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’

29 “For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. 30 Throw out the worthless servant into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

I don’t know about you but I don’t have just a study bible, I have a dialogue bible! Meaning, I always have a lot of questions as I read, so I turn my reading into a prayer, a dialogue back and forth with our Lord. I ask Him questions as I go along, and He is always gracious enough to me to illuminate words and passages as I read. One phrase and five words stood out most this morning. The phrase is “entrusted his possessions to them”; and the words are: ability, talents, master, joy, and knew.

The Greek word for ability is δύναμις (or dunamis), meaning “(miraculous) power, might, strength”. Usages for dunamis include: “physical power, force, might, ability, powerful deeds, marvelous works, power through God’s ability”. This says to me that not only does God entrust us with His possessions (this earth and all its resources, the nations, people), He also enables us with His power and ability to manage His possessions effectively. WOW!

My first thought was “oh my, don’t squander the power”! There are at least two ways I think God’s power to manage His possessions can be squandered, but first I want to talk about His possessions – the talents. Did you know that a talent is not a coin? A talent is a specified weight (of about 75 pounds) of either silver or gold. So the amount being given by the master in this parable was quite substantial!

The first way to squander both the power and the resources is to do what the third servant did, by choosing to bury the talent in a field. He had been given the giftings and ability to make good of the resources he’d been given, which makes me think of Romans 11:29 that tells us the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. God is not sorry that He has given gifts or abilities to men, regardless of how each of us choose to use them. They are ours to use as we please, whether for His glory or not.

This servant, chose not to use his abilities at all, however! Instead he takes the resources and, like I mentioned, buries them in a field. Why? The word “knew” in verse 24 of Matthew 25 is a clue. The Greek word used here is γινώσκω (or ginóskó), meaning to come to know, recognize, perceive. He perceived that his master was a hard man.

Was the master a hard man? In times past I also perceived God as hard or harsh, believing He was waiting to punish me for all my wrong-doings. It wasn’t until I understood that His judgements are always true and just that my perception of Him changed. 2 Corinthians 5:21 explains that He (God) made Him (Jesus Messiah) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Jesus, who was the spotless sacrificial lamb, took my place and received the harsh punishment on my behalf. This is something the other two servants in this parable seemed to more fully understand, and is where I believe the word joy comes into play within verses 21 and 23.

So what about the second way I mentioned to squander? That one is where the title of this blog comes into play, and is found in Daniel chapter 5, in the story of Belshazzar, king of Babylon. He also was given abilities by the Lord and was in possession of many precious things from Jerusalem and the temple. In Belshazzar’s case, however, he more than just chose not to use his abilities to the glory of God, he also chose to desecrate the resources he had been given. In this case, the famous handwriting on the wall: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN, translates he had been weighed in the balances and was found wanting. In both cases where the resources were squandered, the judgements came in harsh for the recipient.

About the word “master”. Simply translated it is “Lord”. We all serve a master of some kind, we are all slave to something. Christianity is the only religion where the more obedient you choose to be, the more free you become.

To summarize, we’ve all been given gifts by God – all of us – and have the ability to use them for His glory if we so choose. We have all been given resources and it is also up to us how we use those. The questions we want to be asking ourselves are: What gifts have I been given? What resources (monetary or otherwise) do I have? How am I using those gifts and resources? How do I currently perceive God? Will I too be weighed in the balances and found wanting, or will He too say to me “well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master”?

May your 2022 be blessed!

2 thoughts on “Weighed in the Balances

  1. Beautifully written! I wrote this in my journal w/answers: What gifts have I been given? What resources (monetary or otherwise) do I have? How am I using those gifts and resources? How do I currently perceive God? Will I too be weighed in the balances and found wanting, or will He too say to me “well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master”?

    Liked by 1 person

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