The Scripture readings of today called forth many of the same hackneyed homilies that we have heard for years. Be ready or else be punished. The same old stuff about the master goes away and the servant who is left in charge carouses and when the master comes home unexpected, the servant gets punished. I sat there in church this morning and from the first syllable I knew what the next twelve minutes were going to be like.
I sat there asking myself when someone would think of talking about the trust of the master that has to be fulfilled by the servant in order to please the master? When is someone going to give a meditation on what it means to please the master? There is nothing in these readings that indicates an employer/employee relationship, is there? There is nothing here that speaks of pay is there?
There is not one place in the gospel that shows God remunerating anyone according to a strict adherence to productivity or time. God doesn't ever pay anyone. God rewards those who please Him. He punishes those who displease Him. God is not bound by any legal requirement to pay anyone for collaborating with Him. God and we are bound together in a love covenant, not by an employment contract.
Yes, we are bound to collaborate with God in the work that has to be done in the world. From the very first pages of the Bible God enlists us as His collaborators. Not employees. Collaborators. We find out the depth of the relationship when we are taught to pray by Jesus. He tells us that we pray and develop a relationship with "Our Father."
I don't know about you, but I know that in my house my father had expectations of me and of my siblings concerning the chores that needed to be done. You know what? We did them, or else. I remember one time I asked my father why he didn't give me an allowance like some of my friends got at their homes. My father just looked at me and said, "I feed you, don't I?" I was ashamed that I had even asked. It also came to me that he not only fed me, but bought my school books, my clothes and even gave me a sip of wine at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.
All of that to say that <Yes, God expects us to collaborate with Him in the "chores" that need doing.> If we do not meet expectations, He is not pleased. If we meet expectations, He is pleased. If we exceed expectations He is well pleased. The more pleased He is the deeper our relationship with Him gets because the more His Grace flows our way.
The more we displease Him, the worse things get. You don't believe me? There's a book on your shelf that has that teaching ennumerable times written into the more than 2,000 pages that are sitting there. You will find the expression about God being pleased many times.
Stay ready? Why tell me to stay ready when you could be telling me to keep my Father's loving satisfaction and pleasure in mind? Staying ready is easy when you are doing what it takes to please the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. When you tell me to live in constant and persevering readiness through loving collaboration with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, then you won't have to keep harping on "staying ready." Was it so hard for the five wise virgins to stay ready?
Remember, God doesn't pay wages, He shares His love and His spiritual treasure out of love to those who please Him by living in His presence by constant and collaborative faith, love and hope.
Think about it. Do something about it in your life. If you do, you'll be glad I reminded you about it and you won't have to cry at my funeral.