Maundy Thursday 2020
This is post #24 of a series entitled RELIGION OR RELATIONSHIP: Five Days that Define Our Call in Christ. We hope you’ll enjoy this series of 27 podcasts and blogs that focuses a bit deeper on the first five days of what we now call Holy Week. Using the Gospel text found in Matthew 21 through 25, we explore the major differences between organized religion and true relationship with Christ. Practical sessions that give us Jesus’ view of spirituality as compared to the religiousness found in so many people today. Here’s the homepage for the entire series.
Today’s Lectio Divina: “It (God’s Kingdom) is also like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. Then he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master’s investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master’s money. After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them. The one given five thousand dollars showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’ The servant with the two thousand showed how he also had doubled his master’s investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’ The servant given one thousand said, ‘Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.’ The master was furious. ‘That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest. Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this “play-it-safe” who won’t go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.’” Matthew 25: 14-30 (MsgB)
At first read, it seems as though the master in Jesus’ Kingdom story here is one pretty harsh dude. I mean, come on, Jesus. Doesn’t this whole story substantiate the age-old “rich-get-richer-while-the-poor-get-poorer” mentality?
I mean, why be so cruel to the guy who played it safe? Why punish someone who didn’t have the inner-fortitude to play the stock market? And better yet, why take away the poor man’s money and give it the richest and most talented guy in the bunch?
So many questions here when we twenty-first century, first-world, consumer-driven Americans try to read and interpret an ancient story that was told to a different type of people living in a whole different world and time frame than you and I.
So, what’s Jesus really trying to say here? Could it be that He’s not puffing up American capitalism, nor is He favoring those wealthy dudes with a flair for business? Maybe, just maybe, the Master is simply trying to get all of us to better understand the unique position of authority every human being on the planet has been given by the hand of our Creator.
Let’s go back, for a moment, to the very beginning of time, as recorded in the Book of Genesis.
In the first chapter, we see that God, the Creator, made humankind at the very end of a very productive week. After creating the moon, the stars, the earth, and everything on it, God leans over to His heavenly audience, and whispers…
Pretty good, huh? But, folks, you ain’t seen nothing yet…now watch this!
So, on Day Six, God rolls up His sleeves and makes a man and a woman, and as the Scriptures point out, these unique creatures are 1) made in the image of God, and 2) created in the likeness of God. And it’s these two characteristics that set us in a very unique place in the economy of God.
Then, as the Source of all Life and Breath breathes into us His Holy Spirit, God speaks these words of blessing…
Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge! Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air, for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth. Genesis 1: 28 (MsgB)
You see, from the very beginning of time, you and I have been assigned an amazing job here on planet earth. We are called to be good stewards of all God has given us. And as good stewards, made in the image and likeness of God, we are commanded to take the blessings God has given us, investing them into the life and well-being of this planet. While the other creatures on earth are limited to self-survival, looking out for just themselves, human beings have been given the amazing job of stewardship, which means we invest in life, giving and taking as the Father commands. Being blessed by God means being a blessing to others.
So, in the context of good stewardship, the man or woman who takes the blessings of God given to them, and then in fear or selfishness, hides those blessings away, digging a hole and stuffing them in it, is probably demonstrating the very last thing a human being, blessed by his or her Creator, could ever do.
My mentor, John Wimber, used it say it like this…
Faith is spelled R-I-S-K.
You see, to be a faithful Christ-follower means taking all the blessings, talents, and abilities God has given us (and He’s given all of us a big potful to start with), becoming a good and faithful steward of those blessings, and investing them for the good of God in the world around us.
So, how are you stewarding your little blessing pot God has given you?
My Prayer: Father God, forgive me for looking at my life through the lenses of poverty and fearfulness. In truth, I have been made in the image of God. My life has been formed in the likeness of God. And in all the blessings You have given me, I am uniquely called by You to be a good and faithful steward of those blessings. So, Jesus, rather than seeing all the things I don’t have, give me the eyes to see what I do have and go, in Your Name, to be a blessing to God and others. For Your Name’s sake. Amen.
My Questions to Ponder: Where have I been driven by fear or selfishness so that I’ve become like the man who decided his best bet was to hide away all of his blessings, hoping to keep things safe and secure? What might it look like to live freely and lightly, knowing that it’s my call to be a good and faithful steward of my God-given blessings in the world today? What God-prompted risks do I need to take today so that my call as steward is fulfilled?
So, what are you hearing from Jesus as we take this journey into the first 5 Days of Holy Week?
Religion or Relationship: Five Days that Define Our Call in Christ.
A 27-session Lenten blog series from Matthew’s Holy Week Gospel.
Throughout the Lenten season (Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday), you and I will take a deeper look at Matthew 21-25. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our blog series home page for ease of use.
If you like what you’re reading, might we suggest you share this page with others!