“For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him.”
What’s up with this passage? Is this the same Jesus they’ve been telling us about? He sounds like a kind of Robin Hood in reverse. He seems like a kind of tsilaicos (socialist in reverse), saying that the rich will grow richer and the poor will grow poorer.
If this seems shocking or nonsensical or just downright sinful of Jesus, then I submit that you haven’t been observing closely how God’s Kingdom really works. Didn’t we just hear the parable of the sower and seed? (Oh, that’s right – we’ve had the weekend to forget it!) What happens to those who are the soils in which the seed can’t take root? Even the seed is lost. What happens to the good soil that that receives the seed? The seed grows in it and produces an abundant yield of more seeds.
Though in the physical, material realm the correspondence isn’t always 1:1, human wealth, for the most part, is based on this principle. I’ve seen a lot of students who started out in similar circumstances and ended up in different places, based on what they had done with what God had given them. Who is it that has provided for himself and his own family, has an inheritance to pass on to his children, and has enough left over to give to the poor? Isn’t it the one who has worked hard and chosen to finish school and maybe college? Isn’t it the one who takes a job (or two) and keeps it? Isn’t it the one who saves instead of spends and denies himself instead of going into debt?
If even the pagans know how the world works in terms of making the most out of what God has given, why is that we Christians often don’t get it? I think it’s because we are the spiritually poor who think ourselves rich. If you believe that you have all the resources you need to deal with life, then you probably won’t be very motivated to seek God and His riches.
But what a beautiful thing it is when we witness someone who has received the Word of God with joy and responds with faith and over time becomes a mature Christian Tree of Life, conformed to the image of Jesus Christ! This one, in time, will bear fruit, 30-fold, 60-fold, or 100-fold.
You are to be the good soil that hears the Word with a noble and good heart. You are to be the good soil that keeps the Word of God and bears fruit with patience. Every day of your life is an opportunity to prove what kind of soil you are for God’s Word. I’ve come to believe that God is constantly speaking to us through His Word, through His Creation, through the people in our lives, and through our circumstances. We are like a radio that is tuned to different stations. But instead of us having a steady signal from God that we are locked onto, we have our radios set to Seek or Scan, and we keep flipping from channel to channel. When you get to God’s station, I’ve seen some of you launch a shaky finger that seeks to change the radio controls as quickly as possible. Some of you have almost had wrecks in the process. (True confession: it’s kind of like me sometimes. When I’m changing the channels and come across the Christian music radio station, I usually find a classical or classic rock station or talk radio as fast as I can.)
Every day God offers you many opportunities to listen to Him, to obey, and to grow. When you accept these opportunities with faith and faithfulness, then you will begin growing again. When you don’t receive these opportunities or you ignore them or run the other way, then you begin to wilt and lose what you already have.
I’ve come to believe that every circumstance of every day is actually just another way to meet God. Before I write my Give Us This Day, I should ask God for wisdom and strength. When I’m writing it and I’m interrupted by one or more of the kids (if it’s summer and if I’m writing at home), then I should pray for patience and respond graciously. If I respond in anger or selfishness, then I should seek God and confess my sins. When I’m done, I should give thanks to God for His kindness in allowing me to finish another Give Us This Day. None of these turnings to God has to take more than a few seconds, and I will miss many such opportunities each day. They are all ways to begin to learn how to practice the presence of God.
My point isn’t that I have to consciously turn to God at each micro-event but simply that God is always in my life, always talking to me, and always ready to bless me if I respond to Him faithfully.
If I have been faithful in the few things God has given me and if I have faithfully responded to His presence in my life, then He will give me more. I will see Him more and have the grace to respond more faithfully. The truth is that we have all been given much more than we believe we have. If you have heard the Word of God in your life, then you have the seed of faith. If you have heard the Word of God, then God has made you a steward of His mysteries and of Himself.
You may think that you have not been given much because you may be measuring your wealth by the wrong standard: by how much money you have, how many possessions you have, or how much prestige you have with other people. But all of us who call ourselves Christians have been given an enormous inheritance. You have been given the mysteries of God, the Word of God, and even the Son and Spirit of God.
Can any of us say that God has been stingy or unfair? Can anyone of us justify the adult temper tantrums we throw when God gives us what is good for us and not what we really wanted? Jesus teaches that “You have not because you ask not.” Today He is also saying, “You have not because you are not even using what I’ve already given you. You have not because you have not been a faithful steward of My great gifts to you.”
What have you been doing with the “little” that God has given you?
Prayer: O send out Your light and truth! Let them lead me; Let them bring me to Your holy hill and to Your tabernacle. Then I will go to Your altar, to You, the God of my exceeding joy. Amen.
Points for Meditation:
- As you tune yourself to “God’s radio station,” what do you hear Him saying to you?
- As you reflect on your previous meditations, what do you know you have heard God telling you? What plans will you make to more faithfully obey what you have already heard? Begin being faithful with a few small things by obeying in these matters.
Resolution: I resolve to consider one way in which I have not proven faithful with what God has given me. I resolve further to act on what God has told me I should do. Consider that this area of unfaithfulness is likely to be something you’ve meditated on before recently.
© 2015 Fr. Charles Erlandson
Category: Give Us This Day