Perhaps it may turn out a sang,
Perhaps turn out a sermon.

-- R. Burns Epistle to a Young Friend

Friday, May 15, 2015

Taking Care of Business

Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, Engage in business until I come.  -- Luke 19:13

The traditional KJV says, Occupy till I come.  Word Pictures in the New Testament indicates to us that a better sense might be “trade here while I’m coming”.  Maybe it’s just me, but “engaging in business” carries a connotation of high finance and equity markets.  I don’t think that’s what these servants were being called to do.  They were not sitting in an office.  The successful and commended servants were going on and plying the trade routes.  I would imagine they had to make trips out to other places, buying and bringing back goods desired in the local marketplace.  There was risk involved and potential loss.  They probably suffered some losses and setbacks and had to work harder to make up for it. 

They tell us, from this parable, that we ought to use our gifts as God intended, and I agree with that.  Notice that in this version of the story, there are ten minas or talents, each given out to ten different servants.  We do not have the inequitable distribution seen elsewhere.   Every human being is given something precious and treasured by God.  I am not very talented.  About the only thing I ever excelled at in my youth was bucking hay bales.  But I have this life, this soul -- the divine spark that Bob was talking about a couple of days ago. 

When I pass from this life and stand before the judgment seat of Christ, I do not think He will ask me much about my hay hauling or my singing, whether I coded for the kingdom or how much money I spent on Girl Scout cookies or gave to missions.  I think He will look at the life He gave me and see if I multiplied and enriched it.  He will want to know if I risked myself by loving other people, including those on whom I had a chance to lose it all.  He will want to know if I hid out in the basement, or if I went out through the war zones and the no-man’s lands.  Did I ever defy the devil to add to gain more for the Lord?  Or did I prefer to keep a low spiritual profile, to bury that spark and keep it out of sight to avoid being attacked?

It may be tough for me to answer.  I do tend to avoid the critics, the skeptics, and some of the heretics.  I am more comfortable being some distance from the edge of the precipice.  I don’t know that I want to see how close I can get or if there is some narrow, knife-edged way to bridge the gap and get over where there are treasures I might bring back.  Yet, isn't this, in a much greater way than I can imagine, what the Lord Himself did in the Incarnation? 

Obviously we don’t want to gamble with our souls, but I do think we are called to invest and “trade” some in this world.  I think missionaries and visionaries, spiritual and intellectual pioneers, artists and poets and prophets and creators of all kinds bring back treasures that enrich the lives of others and bring growth to their own souls.  I am not going to be one of the heroes of the faith or a notable saint of any kind, but I am going to do what I can with the spark that I have.   

I’m going love people who may reject me.  I’m going to study and read and pray.  I’m going to challenge the assumptions that the world system offers to me and expects me to accept.  While I am at it, I may challenge some of the traditional interpretations of the Bible that my religion holds.  Maybe I’ll look at the questions and objections of the skeptics to see if I can venture out to bring back answers for that market. 

Now, there will be those who are concerned, frightened, perhaps even offended by us as spiritual traders.  I understand.  There is the potential to go off the tracks, to get lost or waylaid out there in the bush.  I think, though, if we will listen carefully to our Guide, who will never leave nor forsake us, regardless of the dangers and tribulations of the trail, we’ll find our way safely back home.


julie said...

Obviously we don’t want to gamble with our souls, but I do think we are called to invest and “trade” some in this world.

Yes, just so, and I'm glad that you do it.

Anonymous said...

Probably be careful. Being haunted and working that out does not get very broadcast. There are not really many, so to speak. That stuff starts OK. Then the two, then the one. Survivors.

Sometimes, that is not what is done in space, just in time.

Very hard to live with.

mushroom said...

Thanks, Julie.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"I’m going love people who may reject me."

That is the best investment there is. It's also the toughest one to make.

But if we trust in the Lord, it will be alright.

Investing love, joy, truth, and all the Godly principles, hopefully, with wisdom, prudence and temperence.
Godly principles and human virtues go together well.

John Lien said...

"He will want to know if I hid out in the basement,..."

Ruh roh! I'm feeling convicted.

I'd give you some credit for hay hauling if anyone bothers to ask my opinion.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Aye, John, buckin' hay is a noble job...and really tough, particularly those 120 pound bales.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I recall one rancher I worked for, he had 60 lb bales, thankffully, and he was a really nice guy, him and his wife put on a huge lunch for us hired hands, fried chicken, mashed taters, corn on the cob, the works, and he oaid better than anyone I ever worked for at the time.

Anyways, I was buckin' hay and a damn snake wiggled out on of them right in my face.
I dropped the bale, startled, but fortunately it was inly a rat snake.
The rancher, who was in the back of the truck laughed.
He told me one time a rattler came out of a bale, but thankfully, no one was bitten.

Not sure if he was pulling my leg, but I was purty wary after that, ha ha.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Sorry for the spelling errors. I turned off the auto correct, because I can...and because it wouldn't allow me to spell coon words.

mushroom said...

I'm not worried about you, John. Being a Raccoon, you may have sneaked in through the basement, but you're out there poking around in the dark with the rest of us.

I've seen copperheads baled up or parts of them, but they were always dead. It's still enough to make a person go "Whoo!" and jump a little.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I saw a Nat. Geo. show about copperheads and water moccasins a while back. I was surprised to learn that copperheads arefar more aggressive than water moccasins.
Even the guys doing the show were surprised.

I reckon because water moccasins look more scary whenthey open their mouths.

Has that been your experience, Dwaine?

mushroom said...

We used go on overnight float trips all the time, camp out on the river, and dig around in the dark for firewood, but I have never killed or dealt with a cottonmouth. Everybody has a story of one trying to get in the boat with their uncle's second cousin, so I don't know.

We used to cut hay with a sickle bar mower. It would cut a lot of copperheads in half because they would coil and raise their heads as it approached. The bar is out to the side of the tractor on a different path. They seem to flee the tractor with a bushhog or mower behind or under it.

Copperheads do sometimes "stand" their ground when I've come across them on foot. NG could be right.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thanks for the info.
I've caught NG in lies before, regarding political stuff, and the Afghanistan prison breakout, but they are usually accurate irt wildlife behavior.