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The Unfair Savior – Matthew 25

Click here to read Matthew 25 on BibleGateway.com

fairWe are obsessed with the idea of “fair” in our culture. Equal opportunities, equal pay, equal education, equal reward, equal everything. And yet you will not find the idea of “fair” in our modern sense in the Bible, unless you count Ecclesiastes, where everything stinks for everybody. I guess that’s kind of fair.

God chooses Jacob over Esau, he chooses Israel over the other nations, Jesus chooses the Twelve disciples over other people, and chooses three of those to be his special friends. Some people suffer more than others, some have a relatively easy life, some are chosen by God to be great, some toil in obscurity.

THE UNEVEN PLAYING FIELD

Look at the parable of talents in Matthew 25. To start, the master has eight talents to give out (fun fact: a talent of gold is worth about $660,000 in today’s money), but he doesn’t spread it out equally among his three servants (or as equally as possible – 3,3,2 or something). Instead, he gives five to the first servant, two to the second, and one to the third. So already we see that God isn’t all that concerned with things being fair.

The master then goes away for a while, comes back, and gets his financial report. The first servant has doubled the investment (which means he made his boss 3.3 million dollars); nice work, Servant One. Servant Two has also doubled the master’s money (1.3 million); pretty decent, Servant Two. Servant three, afraid that he might lose the six hundred grand and get whupped, hides it, and gives it back when the master returns.

Now here’s the thing; that should not have been that big of a deal. The master didn’t lose any money, after all. At most, he lost a little time, perhaps an opportunity here and there. But certainly he was no worse off than before. And yet Jesus refers to this servant as not only lazy (hard to argue with that one), but “wicked.” It was not only a bad decision to hide the money, it was downright sinful. That’s pretty harsh.

Then it gets even more unfairish. The master takes the money from Servant Three, and gives it to Servant One. Notice: not to Servant Two. Servant One already had six and a half million dollars, while Servant Two had just north of two and a half. It seems to our mind that the “fair” thing to do would be to give that money to Servant Two, and possibly even take some of that ridiculous wealth from Servant One and spread it out a little. But that’s not what the master does. He takes the excess, and gives it to the person who has already shown to be trustworthy with what he had.

YOUR BEST IS SECOND

Here’s the fact: some people are more talented than you. Not “have different talents”; not “special in a different way”; not “more obvious talent.” Plain ole more talented, more gifted than you. They might be stronger, faster, smarter, better looking, more musical, more popular, better family, better singer, better experiences, better everything. They might even have multiples upon multiples of talent more than you.

And you know what Jesus says about that? Nothing. That’s the way it is. Accept it. And do what you can with what you have. Servant Three was not responsible to make 6 million dollars; only to do what he could do with what he had. He was expected to put forth all his effort into developing his six hundred thousand as best as he could. Instead, he hid away in fear. Maybe he was envious of the guy with more, maybe he felt inadequate, maybe he just wanted to do barely enough to get by. Regardless, Jesus says what he did was wrong.

You are not responsible to be the best; you are responsilble to do the best you can with what God has given you. If you are fast enough to take third, and you take fourth because you don’t give your best effort, then that for you is sin. You don’t have to give a million dollars to the church; but if God has given you the ability to give twenty dollars, and you give ten, then that for you is sin. If you have the ability to be the best businessman in the world for God, and you are the second best, for you that is sin. We are responsble for what God has given us, not what he has given others, regardless of how much or how little talent we have.

After all, that’s only fair.

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