Wednesday, November 12, 2014
The law of our nature
The story goes on, and it’s not good news. The guy who has only one talent loses what little he has to those who already have more. It is one more chapter in the old story, “Them that’s got shall win; them that’s not shall lose.” The poor get poorer. Nothing new here.
The Master in the story gives from his fullness to each servant. But at the end he is not sympathetic. He has no compassion on his fearful servant but sends him away into the darkness where the soul aches for the light of God.
So is God, the Master, a punisher like this? Or is God like the healing hand of Christ reaching to the tenderest spots in our hearts to heal us again when morning comes?
Does God look at the world with jaundiced eye or with the warmth of one who loves us in spite of ourselves, welcoming every open heart?
I’ll take the latter. Everything I have ever learned in prayer and meditation, everything the wise and most Spirit-filled through the centuries have written speak of the passion of a love so warm and life-giving they stumbled over themselves to speak it.
But there are laws in the world of Spirit as everywhere else. The Divine Spirit works in certain ways, and when we resist these ways we cut ourselves off from the joy of the Master for which we are intended.
The Master gives life and breath, gifts and graces in creation. It is God’s nature to give, and human souls are created in the image of the Giver of all life. The two servants who risked what they had received cooperated with the Spirit. They flowed with the living stream of grace and love that springs from the heart of God.
The servant who fearfully hid what he had acted against God’s nature … and his own. He tries to hold tight to what he has, fearing punishment instead of obeying the Master’s way, the way of gift and grace, the way of risk, the way that leads to joy.
He did not know or trust that he was made in the image of his Master. Violating his own nature he lived in darkness not the light of the grace for which we hunger.
In the world of Spirit, when you give something away you become more … not less. You enter the Master’s joy.
Pr. David L. Miller
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Matthew 25:14-21“For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.
Enter the joy
Joy is not found by holding back, playing it safe. It is known only by those who throw themselves and their gifts into the unpredictability of living and caring, knowing, too, that there are no guarantees.
None of us are made for holding back, being careful, protecting what you have at the risk of losing something. Truth is … life always involves losing. We can never hold onto everything we want or need, friends, jobs, good times enjoyed, what we once were … .
Everything changes. Time passes on, an ever-rolling stream. Simple realism here.
Faced with this, how shall we live? Defensively? Grasping as tightly as we can to what we have, to who we are, to what we know?
Or do we throw ourselves into living, loving, giving ourselves fully to our time and place, our loves and duties, knowing we may be surprised by things we could have never imagined? Everything may not turn out the way we want. It may be better … or worse.
But that is not what really matters. What matters is being who and what we are, knowing we are fashioned in the image of the God, the Love, from whom our lives and this earth flow.
This One, this Love does not grasp but opens the divine hand to let life flow like a river, generously pouring out the divine creativity, giving Life, risking it on creatures who may never acknowledge the eternally generous Source of their breath … and all that is.
Such pouring out of self, not knowing what will come; this is the way of Jesus through which we enter the joy of the master, not only at heaven’s door, but now.
The crazy truth is opposite of what many think. The door of joy is not grasping who you are, but giving yourself away.
Pr. David L. Miller