A lot of things have been collecting in the “must post this insight” queue, so I’m going to clear that out in one disorganized post. Here you go:
1. Parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30, Luke 19:12-28) You know what the main difference was between the guys who multiplied their talent and the guy who hid it away? The guys who prospered didn’t think the master was an exacting, hard man. They weren’t afraid of him. Since there is a contrast between them, they at least must have thought that he was generous and kind as opposed to hard and exacting. And guess what? For them, he proved to be very generous and kind. Notice Luke 19:22 — “By your own words I will judge you”. What you believe about God is all important. I have heard this parable very forcefully preached as being about the results, and that Jesus expects results in a saving way (note Matthew 25:29-30). The message was, if you aren’t investing your talents, you are going to hell. However, this is about belief, not results. The multipliers believed the master was generous and kind. Who wants someone working for you who thinks you are a monster? Yet we think God Himself wants us to think He is a monster? This is the main thing He doesn’t want. He died to save us; what could be more kind? If you want to bear lots of fruit and multiply your talents, start thinking of God as generous and patient and kind and ready to help you out and bless you. Worship Him.
2. God Loves Us.The main point of the Christian faith is that God loves us. It isn’t that we are supposed to serve or have perfect theology somehow. He loves us. He gives us stuff to do in Christ to edify one another because He loves us. Theology exists to explain the details of His love and provision for us. He gives us authority and mission because He is excited to see us in our place. He isn’t looking for excuses to boot us out or discipline us harshly. So much theological discussion, right and wrong, misses this fundamental point. He loves us. (1 John 4:10).
3. Only The Text Oh My Gosh. If anyone tells me that what they have to say isn’t just their opinion, that they are basing it completely and solely on objective interpretation of scripture, I am going to throw something valuable at the wall. Stop that. You do not have that kind of knowledge or perspective. You are not a bona fide Hebrew or Greek scholar, or an expert on biblical archeology, and if you were you would speak with a lot more humility. It is sheer arrogance to give your half-baked opinions as if they were the unassailable truth of God. Even if you are right, do you really think the people you are saying that to are so beneath you that they don’t think the scriptures support their point of view as well? Do you not realize that it is a bad conversation strategy? Honestly, 99% of the time if you pull out the Bible and ask people to genuinely support their opinion with context and sound observation and rigorous scholarly interpretation, they don’t even know what you are talking about. I will confess to you right here and right now: I am an idiot. I can’t barely remember the letters in the Greek alphabet. I confess, again, my own arrogance and lack of humility in the face of my embarrassing ignorance. Let’s at least admit when we haven’t been respectful and civil in these discussions.
4. What Is Wrong With The Church. There are so many conflicting opinions across the board among Christians about What Is Wrong With The Church. I get sucked into this as well, don’t think I don’t know that! I think I just did it in point 3. how is any non-believer supposed to make sense of all this? Some of these discussions are so complicated I can barely follow them. You know what you can absolutely depend on with 100% certainty? Jesus died for your sins. If you are confused about everything else in the world, you can bet that this particular message, which happens to be Jesus’ main message to you, cuts through all the crap and is just about the only thing you really need to remember. In fact, at the last supper, He gave us this one little thing to do: communion. He said, it is to remember His death. So, remember, His death is the ONE THING He wants you to remember. The rest of it is complicated and confusing. He loves you. He died for you. Believe that and live. Remember that and you are OK.