WHAT DID THE ONE-TALENT SERVANT DO WRONG?

Greetings Friends! In my post titled, “Gifts Are Magnets of the Love Personality” (http://bulamanriver.net/27435), I dwelt at length on Jesus’ parable of the “Bags of Gold” in the Book of Matthew, which you can read in Chapter 25. In it I wrote that people are grouped into three categories commensurate with the varied gifts that God their Creator has placed in them. The first servant represent people God has conferred the greater ability and talent than the second category. And the second group was more gifted than the third category. And the third had the least, but not unimportant or inconsequential.

Parable of Gold Representing God’s Wealth or Love

Whatever the gift or talent does not make a person inferior or superior in God’s sight. What matters is we are using the gift as a platform to enhance and multiply the Master’s wealth (gold) we are given. What does the bags of gold mean and represent? The bags of gold, or God’s wealth, represent His Love, which we receive through the presence of the Holy Spirit, as expounded in the fruits of Love in the Spirit. (1 Cor.3:16; 1 Cor.13:1-12) He is the third Person of the Tri-Personal God (Trinity). (Matt.28:18-19)

So, each servant (human being) was apportioned God’s Love as determined by the Master. We are given the Holy Spirit (Love) by measure. Only Jesus possesses the Holy Spirit without measure. The Scripture speaks about Jesus in this way, “He has come from above and is greater than anyone else. We are of the earth, and we speak of earthly things, but He has come from heaven and is greater than anyone else. He testifies about what He has seen and heard…For He who is sent by God. He speaks God’s words, for God gives Him the Spirit without limit. The Father Loves His Son and has put everything into His hands. And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life.” (John 3:31, 34-36, NLT).

Yes, “God gives Him the Spirit without limit” (John 3:34). Jesus is God’s Son and therefore have the full measure of the Spirit for they are One with the Father in the trinitarian Godhead. (Matt.28:18-19) We recall the origin of humanity, created perfect in God’s image, subsequently fell due to Adam’s sin, thus, mankind was cut off from access to the Holy Spirit in Eden, as represented by the Tree of Life. (Gen.3:24) Yes, since the fall, mankind has drifted so further and far away from God and His Love (Spirit), and closer to the enemy Adam obeyed, Satan. (Gen.3:1-6; 11)

We are fallen human beings and conferred the Spirit by measure in three proportions – 5, 2, and 1 as the parable lays out. (Matt.25:15) The Holy Spirit is the personification of God’s Love and wealth in mankind. (1 Cor.3:16) But as the parable goes on to say, God’s Love can be increased and we are given the task to multiply His Love/wealth through trade in the spiritual marketplace. And in the parable Jesus gave earlier, we are responsible for replenishing God’s Love (Spirit) and make it grow. (Parable of 10 Virgins, Matt.25:1-13)   

What Are Spiritual Gifts? Understanding the Types and Discovering Yours
God’s Love is His Wealth We are Given Proportionally to Invest and Make Returns

The first two servants returned one hundred percent of the Master’s investment rationed to them. One hundred percent is one hundred percent regardless of the amount rationed, whether 5, 2, or 1. It is the end result which counts. This can be likened to athletes competing in a race like the Olympic Games. We can’t expect an athlete to win gold medals in every contest, but in the particular ones they are gifted. A gold in the marathon race, is no different with the gold in the high jump, except that it is a separate skill category. Each athlete possesses different gift and ability to win a medal (wealth/Love). They are rationed with different amount of the Master’s wealth based upon their gift and capability. (Matt.25:15) Jesus said, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven” (John 3:27). No one can produce more than his/her gift can allow and sustain. That’s to say, whatever “is given them from above” (John 3:27).

Human gifts are allotted and dispersed by determination of the Creator. In fact, the Bible says that we “may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col.2:2-3). So, the Father has determined that all human gifts and talents are spawned, apportioned, and appropriated through Jesus Christ. Through His Son, the second Person in the triune Godhead, human gifts and abilities are “mysteries hidden in Him (Christ) carrying all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” The “treasures of wisdom and knowledge” speaks of human gifts and capabilities. Yes, James tells us, “Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow” (Jam.1:17).

Peter wrote to Christians, “Grace and peace to you many times over as you deepen in your experience with God and Jesus, our Master. Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One (Jesus) who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received!” (2 Pet.1:2-3, MSG). So, the human access to God and everything good and sublime (gifts and abilities) arise from the divine grace made possible by Jesus Christ’s mediation as Savior and Mediator for mankind.

In the post (http://bulamanriver.net/27435), I had dwelt at some length about the first two servant who had returned 100% of the investment apportioned to them by the Master. (Matt.25:21, 23). However, the third servant returned his one bag of gold and said, “Here is what belongs to you” (Matt.25:25). The Master was not happy, and said, “‘You wicked, lazy servant! Take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags” (Matt.25:26, 28). Jesus told the unprofitable servant who buried his one bag of gold the very least he could have done, “You should have put My money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I return I would have received it back with interest” (Matt.25:27). However, even such a simple act as that he did not have the foresight to see, let alone perform. But is there more than meets the eye, perhaps, there were considerations he failed to take into account, much less appreciated?

Let me elaborate on the dynamic between a person’s gift and the true wealth (Love/gold) from the perspective of the servanthood attitude and mindset we are called upon to uphold and embrace. In particular we are examining this from the point of view of the third servant in Jesus’ parable of the “Bags of Gold.” What made him/her hide the one talent and did nothing with it? (Luk.19:20) Yet, the preceding two servants were faithful and did what was expected of them. They made 100% increase on the Master’s apportioned investment (Love/gold). (Luk.19:15-19, NLT)

Your Gift and Ability is Your God-Given Platform Upon Which to Trade God’s Love, His Wealth.

God doesn’t want us to compare ourselves with others, He said people who do such things are unwise. Paul said this, “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they show their ignorance” (2 Cor.10:12, Bereans T.). The point is, He wants us to make the most of what we are given, whether it is 5, 2, or 1 bags of gold with out gifts and abilities. And we earlier read what Jesus said that no one can do more than what he or she is given. (John 3:27) That doesn’t mean you don’t try your best, it simply means your best is all you can do. And when we have done our best, we have the humility to say, we have simply done our duty, for we can do only what we are given. (Luk.17:10; John 3:27) 

Why did the person with the one bag of gold acted the way he did, and not follow the previous two servants? Perhaps by hiding the Master’s gold, he imagined the gold would be safe and sound. Perhaps, he thought that if I gave back what I received, the Master would be happy. Or, he bluntly refused and disobeyed the Master and did something completely unrelated and different. But the Master wanted the servants to trade and make a return, a profit, from His investment. That is the purpose of the Master’s investment plan and why the gold coins (Love) were entrusted to them. That was the purpose of life itself. They must be traded and by using their gift as the driving force, bring back a return. By hiding the gold and doing nothing will result in the exact opposite of what the Master had in mind for His servants, he lost it. (Matt.25:28-30) Love (Master’s wealth) has to be utilized in Loving works in order for Love to grow and multiply. (Eph.2:10) The answer to this dilemma can be attributed to the underlying relationship dynamic which exist between the Master and the servants.

We have seen that we are blessed with gifts and abilities we are born with as the Creator determines. Then He allots to us His wealth (Love) that is commensurate with, that is proportional to, our abilities. If a person is in the first category, he or she is given more bags of the Master’s gold. Sometimes we wish we were given one, so we don’t have to work so hard. Then you have a lot of idle time, and that can be unhelpful for many a people. Remember, the Scripture tell us God looks at the heart, not your output necessarily. Scripture tells us, “The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Sam.16:7). We must not invert the priority and think that life all about output with no heart. The opposite is true, General McArthur said, “It must be of the spirit (heart) if we are to save the flesh (human output).” The heart is where the gift resides. And He already knows what is expected from your gift, for He knows you better than you know yourself. (Psa.139:13)

I said the servants refer to all humanity who are grouped into three categories of people according to their inborn gifts and abilities the Creator has conferred upon them. Besides the gift, humans are given God’s wealth or God’s Love by utilizing their gits as the platform to trade in the Spiritual marketplace. The first is given 5 bags of gold, the second is given 2 bags of gold, and the third is given 1 bag of gold. (Matt.25:14-15; 1 John 4:8). What is the spiritual marketplace? It is incumbent upon us to recognize its existence and know God’s hands at work in it. Primarily, it is wherever and whenever we are in situations encountering circumstances where Love is made to grow and mature, and not allowed to retrogress and decline in our relationships with God and our fellow humans. God’s wealth (Love), like any wealth-accruing system, have currencies by which it is valued, appraised, and calculated, as we shall see.

Scriptures affirm, “Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow” (Jam.1:17). Paul says, “In His grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well… If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly. Don’t just pretend to Love others. Really Love them” (Rom.12:6-9).

“God is Love” 1 John 4:8, 16

The currency of Love was expounded by Paul in his letter to the Corinthian church. What exactly is this ‘Love currency’ or spiritual value system we utilize and trade upon the platform of our gifts and abilities? It behooves us to be intelligibly concsious of the divine currency system for without knowledge and recognition of God’s Love currency, how would we trade in God’s ‘spiritual marketplace?’ It begins with the Holy Spirit, as Paul told the Romans, “God’s Love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Rom.5:5). Paul said further, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” (1 Cor.3:16). So, without the Spirit we have no spiritual currency to start with, let alone trade with God’s wealth (Love).

Peter, in his memorable message on Pentecost, informs us about how the Spirit is able to come and make His abode in the life of humans, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Act.2:38). (You can read about the “New Spiritual Birth” at: http://bulamanriver.net/17978) So, humans were created to be a temple, a repository, of God’s Love through the Spirit’s presence, individually and collectively as a Church. With that, each and every believer is given spiritual money and currency of Love, in amounts of five, two, one, bags of gold, “each according to his ability,” as the case may be, with which to trade in the ‘spiritual marketplace.’ (Matt.25:15)

There is one vital truth about life we must not overlook, and that is, no one is an island to himself or herself, where he or she can survive alone. Therefore, there is someone who need your inborn gift because he lacks what you have. The same is true the other way around. Sometimes we try to do too much, but we accomplish less or next to nothing. We can’t be everything to everyone for no one is super multi-gifted. But we can be something to someone with our specific gift and ability. We must stay narrowly and close to what we are good at through our talents. This was God’s plan all along. In this way, we live the life of co-dependance rather than trying to do everything which is impossible. God is by nature the same way in His collaborative Triune nature (Trinity). We are not to live a life of autonomy from God, but dependance upon His promises for us. Our promise to our fellow humans is our gift.

Peter said this, “Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises (gifts), so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires” (2 Pet.1:4). Yes, in living the Master/servant relationship, God’s many precious promises (gifts) form the backbone of that relationship. Humans cannot survive without the divine promises of the Creator, and we cannot survive on our own without dependence on each other’s gift and ability. It’s almost like God is saying that your inborn gift is your ‘life-promise’ to help your fellow humans, much like God’s Love-promises to us. (You can read my post, “Standing On The Promises” at: http://bulamanriver.net/15209) Right here, we are standing upon the platform of our gifts, trading our talents in the power of God’s Love, to help those in need of our gifts and abilitites. Paul said, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph.2:10).

Dove, Symbol of Holy Spirit and God’s Love

God’s ‘Love currency’ are the fruits of the Spirit’s Love which Paul communicated to the Corinthian Christians. (1 Cor.13:1-13). Paul begins by saying “without Love I am nothing.” Paul stated the ‘Love currency’ are actually the Love-fruits of the Holy Spirit, and Paul tell us what they are: *the fruit of patience, *the fruit of kindness, *the fruit of contentedness,  *the fruit of modesty (unboastful), *the fruit of humility, *the fruit of honor, *the fruit of unselfishness, *the fruit of calmness and dignity, *the fruit of forgiveness and compassion, *the fruit of delighting in good and shunning evil, *the fruit of tolerance, *the fruit of responsibility, *the fruit of enduring hope, *the fruit of steadfast perseverance, *the fruit of joy, *the fruit of peace, *the fruit of goodness, *the fruit of faith, *the fruit of gentleness, *the fruit of self-control, *the fruit of zeal and spiritual fervor, *the fruit of friendship, *the fruit of sharing and generosity, *the fruit of prayerfulness, *the fruit of hospitality, etc. (1 Cor.13; also Gal. 5:22-23; Rom. 12:9-21).

What we see above in the Love-fruits represent the currency of Love through the Spirit’s presence in human life. Both Jesus and the Spirit co-exist in the heart of God’s children, for Paul said, “Christ lives in me;” and “You are God’s temple that God’s Spirit dwells in” (Gal.2:20; 1 Cor.3:16; Act.17:28). What we see above are the fruits of the Tree of Life (Holy Spirit) which we feed upon every day in life’s human journey upon earth. They represent the currencies of God’s wealth (Love/gold) with which we trade upon the platform of our gifts, talents, and capabilities.

The important question from the parable remains, why did the servant who was given one ‘bag of gold’ failed to do as the prior two who were given 5 and 2 bags of gold and returned 100% returns by investing the Master’s wealth/Love? The reason is he did not appreciate the Master/servant dynamic which is necessary to make the relationship work. I would like to share 6 principles any servant must observe and always keep at the forefront of their thoughts if he or she desires to go on in life and make a return to the Master’s wealth (Love) we have been entrusted.

Fruit of the Spirit Poster
Fruits of Love of God’s Spirit – Currency of God’s Wealth. 1 Cor.13

Firstly, we must gain an utter and complete appreciation of the identity of the Master we are called to serve, with the wealth assigned to each of us. Who is He truly? He is God’s eternal Son through whom God created all things. So, He is the Creator. (John 1:1-3) He is the Messiah, God’s emissary sent to save us as our Savior and redeem humanity from sin and death. He is the Immanuel who brings the promise of immortality. (John 3:16) Jesus holds the key to human immortality. (John 3:36) He is the Personification of bounty and everything good and rejuvenating humans have ever sought and desired. (John 1:4; 14:6) He is the pathway to the Holy Spirit who is the Personification of God’s Love, wealth, and bounty in humanity. (John 14:26; 16:7) He is the Master about whom we speak. His messianic name is “Immanuel” – the God who became human to become one of us. (Isa.7:14; Matt.1:23) This is the Master we have been called to serve.

Secondly, we need to understand the Master/servant relationship dynamic. Earlier Jesus gave a master/servant scenario and said, “Suppose one of you has a servant who comes in from plowing the field or tending the sheep. Would you take his coat, set the table, and say, ‘Sit down and eat’? Wouldn’t you be more likely to say, ‘Prepare dinner; change your clothes and wait table for me until I’ve finished my coffee; then go to the kitchen and have your supper’? Does the servant get special thanks for doing what’s expected of him? It’s the same with you. When you’ve done everything expected of you, be matter-of-fact and say, ‘The work is done. What we were told to do, we did.’” (Luk.17:7-10). Do we sometimes invert the servanthood mindset and through a seditious conviction adopt the attitude of a master, and forget our place by shrinking from the responsibility of a servant?

Why did the servant think he/she could invert the master/servant relationship? A servant may think he is doing so much and increasing wealth for the Master that he thinks he ought to be the beneficiary, and not the other way round. Remember, in Luke’s account of the parable, it says, “But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king’” (Luk.19:14). But he was made king anyway and sought an accounting of his investment from the servants. (Luk.19:15) So, when a servant fails to appreciate the Master/servant relationship, for whatever reason, we become unprofitable servants. So, the old adage ‘know your purpose and place’ in life rings true for all of us. If you’re still wondering who is this Master we are called to serve, then review point 1 above.

Thirdly, understand what our services as a servant really means. No matter the degree and magnitude of the service, they are not profitable to God. The Scriptures ask through Job, “Can a man be of benefit to God?” (Job 22:2). Yes, can even a wise person be helpful to Him? God does not need our aid in any way, shape, and form. His loftiest happiness and joy will not be increased through our efforts. God is utterly complete and self-sustaining in Himself and we cannot add to His all-encompassing fullness in Himself as Creator. In truth, it is us, humans, who are in need of Him – every minute, every moment, of every day. This point teaches us the importance of humility. James tells us, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up in honor” (Jam.4:10, NLT).

Jesus Vicarious Death for All Humanity John 3:16

When God handed us His Love, His wealth, His riches, to go out and invest it upon the platform of our God-given gifts and abilities, He had us in mind, not Him. He wanted us to become “Love Personalities” in our own reality as He is in His. He is the supreme Love Personality who “Fills the entire universe with Himself” (Eph.4:10). And God’s plan from the start was to create a human species in His image and likeness. (Gen.1:26-27) This is the Master we have been called to serve.

Fourthly, God’s marketplace where we invest His wealth (gold/Love) is where we cultivate and plant the Love of God through our relationship with God and our neighbors (fellow humans) as the command states. (Mar.12:30-31). What is your gift? What is your ability? Paul said, “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them” (Rom.12:6). You may be proficient with your gift physically and naturally, but Scripture tell us emphatically, “Without Love, I am nothing” (1 Cor.13:1-3). Are you a doctor, a nurse, maybe a plumber, or motor mechanic. You may even be a rugby player, or architect, or taxi driver. You may be a wood carver, a fisherman, a salesman, even an electrician. You may be a surveyor, or pilot, even a scientist, or dentist. Whatever capability one possesses, it is this God-given gift that is the trading platform in the ‘spiritual marketplace’ where the currency of Love is traded and made to grow and multiply. This is where we invest God’s wealth (Love) in our interaction with God first and second with our fellow humans. Earlier, we saw the actual currency of Love from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. (1 Cor.13:1-13)

Composite Of Multiple Men And Women And Their Different Occupations Stock  Photo - Alamy
Collage of Different Ocuupations Identifying Platform of People’s Gift Upon Which God’s Love (wealth) is Traded and Made to Grow

Fifthly. Stewardship, it is vital to keep in mind that it is not so much the amount of gold the Master has invested in us that makes the determining difference, it is the exchange of spiritual goods and services through the Love fruits that is applied and garnered upon the platform of the person’s gift and ability in the spiritual marketplace. Paul said, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph.210). What is the spiritual marketplace? It is incumbent upon us to recognize its existence and realize this is the place we encounter God at work with humans. Primarily, it is wherever and whenever we are in situations encountering circumstances where Love is made to grow and mature, and not allowed to retrogress and decline in our relationships with God and our fellow humans.

Satan creates fear, Jesus brings God’s Love. This is the marketplace dynamism where spiritual trading takes place. Love and fear compels us to make a choice. This is where we are given the unparallel prospect to multiply and increase the master’s wealth…or decrease and weaken God’s wealth (Love) in our lives. What will it be? This means that whatever circumstance we face in life, there are two manifestations to every given situation where our gifts come into play. There is a purely physical/temporary aspect propelled by fear to a person’s gift, then there is a spiritual/eternal aspect inspired by Love. When applying our gifts and abilities, this mindset that there are always two manifestations to our abilities and gifts, must be at the forefront of our minds.

Sixthly, according to the parable of the ten virgins Jesus gave earlier, there is a way of replenishing the power of God’s Spirit and Love in the human heart and mind. (Matt.25:1-13) Jesus likens it to the metaphor of virgins filling their lamps with oil so the flame of the divine Love is constantly burning bright and not extinguised. We keep the light of God’s Love burning by eating from the Love-fruits of the Tree of Life (Holy Spirit). That is to say, the more we practice and act out the Love-fruits Paul cataloged and listed in his letter to the Corinthians, the more we are filling our lamps with oil. (1 Cor.13) The act of Love itself through its many fruits is the only practical way to fill our lamps with oil to keep Love burning brightly.

The oil is not some metaphysical substance we imagine fills our head with Love, no, the act of Love itself is what produces the oil which keeps the lamp burning. The fruits have the seeds of Love which produces more Love. We are to trade with the wealth of God’s Love upon the platform of our God-given inborn gifts and abilities, and in the process make a return for the Master. That return is the very ‘oil’ which keeps the light of God’s Love burning brightly in the world.

10 Top Parable of Ten Virgins ideas | parables, virgin, biblical art
The Metaphor of God’s Love to the Oil the 10 Virgins Constanly Kept the Light Of God’s Love Aflame and Burning

Having considered the six points mentioned above, namely: 1) Recognition of who our Master is; 2) Understanding the Master/servant relationship and not inverting its priority; 3) The servanthood humility; 4) The spiritual Marketplace; 5) Stewardship – Investing the Master’s wealth (gold); 6) Be ready by keeping the flame of Love burning. Let me ask a pertinent and all together important question for the servants to consider, and especially for the servant with one bag of gold and did nothing with His Master’s investment. Have they properly considered the six points outlined above which are vital to the Master/servant relationship?

Most especially, on entering the fifth point, where ‘the rubber meets the road’ so to speak, in which they are to directly invest their Master’s wealth (Love/gold), are they in a right mindset? Do the servants have a plan on how to weigh and consider their activity in the spiritual marketplace as they are about to trade with the Master’s wealth. Now, they are to trade by utilizing the divine currency of God’s Love in their interaction and relations with the divine and human entities. (Mar.12:30-31) From the account of Jesus’ parable, it was obvious only the two servants did, but not the third. Why? Recall, the three servants are representative of three categories of people and how they respond to investing the Master’s wealth, and doing it through the six principles we covered about Master/servant relationship.

Parable of Gold, Symbol for God’s Love and Wealth

We saw earlier that all human gifts and abilities originate from God through Christ, “In whom (Christ) are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col.2:2-3). God has formed every human being with gifts and abilities from the womb. (Psa.139:13-14) Nobody is born without divinely conferred abilities to live a purposeful life as the Creator has ordained. That is the reality of His divine sovereignty which we accept without question. As Creator God, by whose power humans and all living things draw breadth, everything is the expression of His Love, for “God is Love” (1 John 4:8, 16).

We cannot debate the issue about our gifts and abilities with the Creator. That is His prerogative as Creator who created all humanity out of His Love and for a divine purpose and goal. The Scripture declare, “For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psa.139:13-14) So, here we see God creating the live human platform upon which He, the Master, and humanity (servants), will disseminate His will through His Love.

From Jesus’ parable, two of the three servant-types responded properly to the six points outlined above. In so doing, they faced the fifth point in the right frame of mind and spirit, where they live and operate in the divine/human marketplace knowing how to utilize the currency of Love to trade and multiply the Master’s wealth (Love). The first two understood that life is always lived on two levels, two tiers, one is physical/temporal, while the other if spiritual/eternal. Based upon them, we then make choices in life.

For example, when Jesus said, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever” (John 6:51), it tells us that bread is not merely what we buy at the local bakery. The spiritual bread is understood and personified in His Person as our Savior. Then there is the physical/material bread, “I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna (physical bread) in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die” (John 6:48-50, italic my emphasis).

Bread, otherwise called ‘the staff of life,’ is metaphor for a person’s occupation. It is a person’s profession which he/she has spent most of life learning and honing and with which he/she has become well-versed. Jesus said, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work” (John 4:34). Yes, Jesus’ whole purpose in life, His profession, His nourishment, the food that keeps Him going is to see that the purpose for which God sent Him, is accomplished.

Humans in turn accomplish God’s purpose for their lives by receiving Jesus as Savior and Master, and through the gifts and talents conferred by divine edict trade in God’s Love. The Scripture tell about Jesus in this way, “‘The stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

I am the bread of life – House Mix
“I Am the Bread of Life”

The same goes with water. There is physical water which quenches our thirst physically, and there is spiritual water which quenches our spiritual thirst. Regarding spiritual water, Jesus said, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them. By this He meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified” (John 7:37-39). So, the Holy Spirit is spiritual water we drink to satisfy our spiritual thirst.

Two of the most basic elements in life by which humans survive and not perish, food and water (drink), carries physical and spiritual connotation and meaning. This teaches us that for just about everything in life there is always this dual expression that calls us to consider our actions, and the repercussions that precipitate them, based upon our choices and activities. We must not be myopic as to think that bread simply means getting your share of carbohydrates from the bakery and nothing more. And quenching your thirst means more than finding a river or tap with running water.

‘Bread’ (sustenance) means the primary purpose of human life is to do God’s will for us through the gifts and abilities He bestowed upon us. (1 Pet.4:10) ‘Water’ (drink) means to live by the divine Love empowered through the Spirit’s presence in us. (1 Cor.3:16) By wearing the new garment of Jesus’ resurrected life we become new personalities ourselves inspired by the Holy Spirit who supplies God’s Love. (Gal.2:20) The Spirit is the Personification of God’s Love and wealth we receive from Jesus, the Master as stated in the parable we read earlier.

John 7:37-39 (ESV) 37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus  stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and  drink. - ppt download

Let us take a real live situation. What is a person’s occupation? We saw a list of gifts in the fourth principle we covered above. There are always two manifestations to our abilities of which we must always be cognizant. This mindset must be at the forefront of our thinking process. However, because of our fallen state on being, we almost always look at life from a purely physical/material perspective, and ignore or are ignorant of the spiritual point of view, and follow through with our actions. In truth, because the command we must Love God first above all else, than what ought to be at the forefront of our minds, our attitude ought to be, the spiritual perspective ought to and must lead the way, then the physical/material. What is our motive for doing what we do?

This is why humans are blessed with gifts and talents in the first place, it’s always asking why am I doing this, what am I doing it for? This is the main point of the parable. You may be very proficient with your gift physically and materially, but that is not the sole meaning of the parable. It was about what your gift produced spiritually. The Bible states that without Love, “I am nothing” (1 Cor.13:2). So, for every activity we do with our gifts, there is a material manifestation and there is a spiritual manifestation. If we place the spiritual deeds first, then the material will fall into its proper place by divine providence. (Matt.6:33)

Paul told Titus, “There are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception… for they overthrow the faith of whole families, teaching what they ought not, just for the sake of making money.” (Tit.1:10-11). Yes, these people spurn authority, teaching principles which contravene God’s foundation for living based upon Love, for the sake of dishonest gain through the spirit of fear. A person may be a surveyor, pilot, scientist, or dentist, botanist or nurse, what is the goal of your gift? Is it just a profession, so you could get a salary at the end of the day or week? It is not wrong to charge for the service of your talent, as long as you do not leave the vital first things undone. (1 Cor.13:1) We are careful not to put the cart before the horse, so to speak. (Mat.6:33) A fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay is a biblically sound fiscal principle. Paul tell Timothy, “The worker is worthy of his wages” (1 Tim.5:18).

But your gift is lifted up above the mundane, above the physical/material level, way up the spiritual and divine plane beyond where it is performed for God’s Love, and out of God’s Love. It is what’s in our heart, our motive, which counts. And when done out of Love, we are shining the light of His glory (Love). Listen to John’s arresting statement, “We know how much God Loves us, and we have put our trust in His Love. God is Love, and all who live in Love live in God, and God lives in them” (1 John 4:16, NLT).

Human Gifts and Talents Divinely Conferred By God the Creator

Yes, we have known and tasted God’s Love through His Son, who has given passage for the Spirit, the power of God’s Love, to come and reside in our hearts. ”Do you not know that you yourselves are God’s temple, and the Spirit of God dwells in you?” Paul asked pointedly (1 Cor.3:16). We have seen the currency of God’s Love through the fruits of the Spirit with which to trade upon the platform of our gifts in the spiritual marketplace. (1 Cor.13).

As long as we live in this fallen age of Satan’s dominion, we will encounter the spirit of fear, the enemy of God’s Love. Since the fruits of Love and the fruits of fear are opposing spiritual forces, it creates friction and dynamism whereby human life comes with its tests and trials in all seasons. We have heard about people who arm themselves with potentially deadly firearms and turn it into weapons of destruction, such as the deadly school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, USA. The answer to such a situation, or for that matter, all different kinds of such damaging circumstance, can be found in Jesus’ parable of the ‘bags of gold.’ Through trials and tests we are given to choose between the physical and mundane and the spiritual and divine upon the platform of our gifts and talents. This is the marketplace dynamism where spiritual trading takes place. This is where we are given the unparallel prospect to multiply and increase the master’s wealth…or decrease and weaken God’s wealth (Love) in our lives. What will it be?

Listen, our works no matter the magnitude or importance does not multiply to, nor is profitable for God. “Can a man be of benefit to God?” Job asked (Job 22:2). He does not need our help, and His happiness and wellbeing will not be increased by our efforts. Paul told the Greeks, “‘For in Him we live and move and have our being’” (Act.17:28). By increasing His wealth (Love) He had us in mind, not Him. He lacks nothing, for He is complete in His infinite Love. The grace to do God’s will for our lives comes from Him only, and all the praise of that will be due to Him. If He rewards us, it will be matter of unmerited favor on His part.

In Place of Love, Satan Sows the Seeds and Fruits of Fear

Our best services are mingled with faults and imperfections. We come short of His glory. (Rom.3:23) We do not serve Him as sincerely, and cheerfully, and faithfully as we ought; we are far, very far from the example of our Savior; and if we are saved and rewarded, it will be because God will be merciful to our unrighteousness, and will not avenge our iniquities but remember them no more. (Heb. 8:12) Hence, God imputes Jesus’ perfect messianic life upon us for our justification and salvation, for Paul said, “God made Him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor.5:21). Yes, He made it possible for humanity to appear befor the ‘mercy seat’ of Almighty God to make our pleas and suppication in time of needs and failings.

What ought our attitude be towards our work as servants? Jesus said, “So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’” (Luk.17:10). Yes, the servants who made one hundred percent return on the Master’s wealth simply say, “We have done that which is our duty.” Humans perform their tasks as servants in the spirit of humility, fully convicted of God’s promise, “However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who Love Him” (1 Cor.2:9).

However, the person given the one bag of gold did nothing …Can we see that gifts are conferred foremost for the purpose of building the Master’s spiritual wealth (Love/gold)? Apparently, the third servant who was given one bag of gold did not appreciate this all-important aspect of his/her life. He did not appreciate the Master/servant dynamic, much less the six principles of servanthood. There is another kind of mineral which looks like gold, but is not. It is call “fool’s gold.” The one-talent servant told his Master, “Here is what belongs to you” and found no time to invest the Master’s gold (Love) apportioned him. (Matt.25:25). Instead, he invested in “fools gold.” “Fool’s gold” is reaped from the fruit of fear and selfishness, not God’s outgoing Love. It is reaped from the fruit of human self-centeredness, greed, sin and evil. It will serve us well to recognize the difference, and not live foolishly but as true profitable servants of our Master.

Petition: Friends, as I have closed my post in the past, I customarily give our readers the opportunity to give their lives to our Maker. I thank you for investing your precious time with me in the sharing of the good news of Jesus who has enabled us to live the Triune Life*. Jesus is alive today as our High Priest in heaven seated at His Father’s side, and ceaselessly mediating for us. I hope that in your heart of heart you will receive Him as your personal Savior, receive God’s Spirit, and be part of living this glorious humanity made children of God forever.

You can privately and quietly pray the prayer below in your heart. I am asking you to pray this prayer as a human being Christ died for, regardless of your background. All are inducted into the one mankind Jesus saved, not into any religious sect or denomination, or divisions one may espouse – but into the glorious humanity that Christ is preparing as the holy temple for God’s dwelling:

Prayer: “Almighty God, Father of all humanity, forgive me of all my sins for I receive Your Son, Jesus, as my personal Savior. In Your incalculable grace, grant Your promised celestial life in Your Son through Your Holy Spirit, and open my eyes to the wondrous gifts you have conferred upon me and all humanity. May Your Love guide and protect me and my Loved ones always, and bring us all into Your beloved and divine Kingdom. I praise and thank You, Amen.”

Prayer: A Solemn One-On-One Spiritual Dialogue Between A Person and God (Wiki Commons)

Welcome to the celestial life of Love in God’s holy, eternal Family. (1 Tim.6:19) Then keep in touch with God’s Word for you by reading and studying your Bible, and visiting this blog and website and look at various subjects that may be relevant for your situation – go to: http://bulamanriver.net You can email me with your questions at the address shown below.

Personal Blessing: Until we meet again in my next post, may the blessings of the God who ceaselessly expresses Himself in His dependable Triune Love, be with you always. May the Spirit enliven your spirit and make all things concerning you possible as you live the “Triune Life”* Be strong in the Lord’s joy.

Farewell for now!

Kiang P. Lee (Your Servant in Christ)

*Triune Life”: Relationship with God has no meaning without Love. By its very nature, Love cannot endure in solitary existence. So, when God said “Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness…” He was revealing Himself as existing in His trinitarian existence. That is, His Tri-Personal Being as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (Gen.1:26Matt.28:19John 14:101616:7) The Hebrew word for ‘God’ in the creation account is “Elohim.” It describes God as a Trinity – the Tri-Personal Godhead, which other scriptures attests. (Matt.28:18-201 Pet.1:22 Thess.2:132 Cor.13:14) So, God is Trinitarian in His Love nature. Love by its nature is relational as God is in His Tri-Personal Being. Hence, a human being was created a relational being.

Adam was solitary and incomplete until God made Eve. He said, “It is not good for the man to be alone (solitary). I will make a helper suitable for him” (Gen.2:18, italics mine). So, God gave Adam a family to raise composed of a father, mother, and offspring, to reflect Himself in His plural Being. The Bible states that the Church’s or humanity’s destiny is to marry Christ, the second Person of the Triune Godhead, in the new age to come which will be an everlasting relationship. (2 Cor.11:2Eph.5:23-2732Rev.19:7) The Bible is abundantly clear about God’s nature and declaration of Himself in His relational Triune Being from the past, the present, and the future. God has never lived as a solitary Being, but a Tri-Personal Being.

It’s noteworthy to understand that Eve was not created an individual creation from the dust of the earth as was Adam. She was not created apart from Adam as an individualized separate human being, instead, she was taken out from Adam’s side to show she was biologically one and indivisibly part of Adam. Eve was not detached (solitary) from Adam, but intrinsically inseparable from Adam’s innermost humanity. When Adam saw Eve, he said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man” (Gen.2:21-23).

Rublev’s Icon of The Trinity – One in Three, Three in One (Wiki Commons)

Each one of us was created as an indivisible relational human being incubated and given birth from Adam’s mold as one species, for God created humanity to reflect the eternal likeness in His triunity. We are born for relationships with the divine triune Love as our guiding principle. All this show that humans were created to be indivisibly one to reflect God’s Tri-Personal image of Oneness, not solitary separateness. When God sent Jesus His eternal Son, He became human in order to unify humanity spiritually to the Triune Being of God once for all time. Hence, when the prophet Isaiah proclaimed Jesus’ coming, He was given the prophetic name, Immanuel. (Isa.7:14) The name means “God with us” (Matt.1:23). Humanity is ‘organically’ one with the Triune God, just as humanity is one with Adam.

Most religions believe God as some solitary being. The true God is not solitary by any means, He is the Trinity in His Tri-Personal Being. God consist of three Persons in One divine triune Godhead. They exist in One “homoousion” meaning consisting in one substance, or “consubstantiality.” The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit exist in One hypostatic union, One substance, like Eve was biologically part of and never physically separate, but of one substance from Adam. Likewise, humanity is made of one spiritual substance with the triune God through Jesus Christ who took our humanity upon Himself and joined it to the divine triune existence forever.

The three-dimensional Triune Life/Love is opposed to living the one-dimensional solitary life of the fallen humanity inherited from Satan through Adam’s rebellion. For additional information about the Triune Life: http://bulamanriver.net/?p=8036. Also at: http://bulamanriver.net/9092.    

**Bulamanriver: To read the different facets of the life of the Bulamanriver, you may obtain a copy of my book, “Bula” Man-River, from Amazon.com; xulonpress.com, barnesandnoble.com, and other online book stores. All proceeds will go towards furthering the work of Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world.

Bulamanriver Book Cover

All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise.

Mission Statement: Read the Triune Love Mission, Vision, and Value statements at: http://bulamanriver.net/8664

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