Friday, July 6, 2018

Of Slaves and Servants | Parashat Pinchas | By His EVERY Word Weekly Commentary

Shabbat | 7 July 2018 | 17 Tamuz 5778

Parashat Pinchas


Torah: Numbers 25:10 - 30:1
Haftarah: Jeremiah 1:1 - 2:3
B'rit Chadashah: Matthew 25:14-30
That period of the vacation season has arrived when the regular weekly production by the crew of His Every Word Ministries may be significantly modified from time to time to allow for "times of refreshing" and rest. 
We invite you to join us in a brief, but meaningful devotional thought that has had significance for us and hopefully will for you as well.
Please do read this week's portion as noted above. It is rich and relevant. Although today we do not take up sword against those who delight in flaunting evil and rebellion, we are surely called to the spiritual battle that rages against righteousness and holiness.  There is no neutral ground with Adonai. 
We are either walking with Him, and carrying His Name in a worthy manner, or sliding back into darkness.
For the next two weeks we would direct your attention to one of our Messiah’s parables and consider with us the topics of “service” and “security.” In Matthew 25:14-30 we are given what has come to be known as the Parable of the Talents. Our text reads as follows:

“For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them.

“To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey.

“Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents.

“In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more.
“But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
“Now after a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them.
“The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.’
“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’
“Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.’
“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’
“And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’
“But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. ‘Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’
“For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.
“Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
This story is about three individuals, each having the same designation, that of a slave. The same word used for each of them, slave, is in the original, “δοῦλος/doulos” and is used in the Greek New Testament around 130 times. Its basic meaning is that of one who is the servant of someone or something else. In looking at each of these usages the overriding meaning is that of a loyal servant of another. There are a few exceptions however. 

In John 8:34 we see that one can be “the slave of sin.” In Matthew 18:32 we see the characterization of a slave as “wicked.” And in Matthew 24:48 a slave is seen as “evil.” 

In I Corinthians 7:23 we even see one’s own control exercised over his degree of slave status. There the Apostle Paul argues that believers should not allow themselves to slavishly follow the erroneous teachings of others. 

Our conclusion must be then that context has to be the determining  factor in deciding what kind of servant the one spoken of actually is. He may be a true servant. Or he may be a wicked servant. He may have a right heart toward his master. Or he may have evil intent towards him. These facts open the door to understanding the true status of the third servant or slave who received only one talent and DID NOT DO A SINGLE THING WITH IT. 
With that being said, a few words on “service” and “security” if you please. 

Christendom in these United States is in an exceptionally bad state of affairs these days. While one could write a book on this heart breaking subject suffice it to say that the so called “church” is filled with folks who have had their ticket to heaven punched. They are the ones that have said the prayer, accepting Jesus as their Savior from sin and making Him Lord of their life. They now believe they have done all that is necessary to get to Heaven and so....they now can go out and live like the rest of the world, and why not. They have that thing called “eternal security.” After all isn’t that guarantee written right on their punched ticket.

When looking at their lives one can hardly tell any difference between them and the unsaved worldly individuals they associate with. They dress the same. They talk the same. They do the same. The blanks here are all easily filled in. So for this week just a thought or two on the life style or “service” of those calling themselves servants of their Master, Yeshua.

Our parable clearly speaks of two types of these servants. What distinguished one type from the other? Both types were called slaves. Both types were given talents or money, here understood as abilities. And both types were left with the expectation - while their Master was away—of using that money or those talents in the service of their Master. What then distinguished one type of slave from the other? The answer is pretty straight forward. One type used the investment placed in them for their Master’s gain. The other type did not. One type chose to serve their  Master. The other chose NOT to serve Him, thus not using his talent, his money, his invested abilities for his Master’s gain.

Let’s look at the results. For those serving their Master rewards were given. The servant given five talents—or his particular set of abilities (v.15)—used those abilities in the service of his Master and was ultimately properly rewarded. (vv.20,21) The same is said of the servant given two talents. (vv.15,22,23) But the servant given one talent was given no reward. Why? Because he chose NOT to serve His Master. He buried any ability his Master had given him and obviously labored only to please himself. (vs.24-28) His reward we will address next week.

This revelation must drive us to the question: What kind of servant are we? Are we using all the abilities given us to serve our Master? Or, have we buried them, choosing rather to serve ourselves, just waiting to grab that ride to Heaven on the ticket we got punched so long ago? May God have mercy on our souls if we are. 

This revelation must drive us to a decision: We must use every ability Adonai has given us to serve Him to the fullest of our capacity.

What kind of a servant are you? What quality of service are you giving your God and king, Yeshua haMashiach. He will return. Your service will be evaluated. Your reward then, will most assuredly be based on your service now.

 Only one life
Twill soon be passed
Only what’s done for Christ
Will last

Blessings in Yeshua,
His EVERY Word Ministries