My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.
ON GOD-CREATED INEQUALITY (Part II)
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovic
God gives to each according to his strength: as much as each can carry and use. Of course, God gives His gifts to men also according to the plan of His dispensation, as the members of a household neither all have the same capacities nor do the same job, but one has a particular capacity and one another, and each works according to his capacity.
"And straightway took his journey." These words signify the speed of God's creating. When the Creator created the world, He did it quickly. And when the Lord Jesus came on earth for the sake of the New Creation, for the renewing of the world, He quickly carried out His work: He revealed and handed out His gifts, and at once went His way.
What did the servants do with the gifts they had received? "Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them another five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained another two. But he that had received one went and dug in the earth, and hid his lord's money." All the application and commerce that exist among men is an image of that which exists, or should exist, in the kingdom of human souls. Of anyone who inherits lands it is expected that he extend them; of anyone who has acquired fields it is expected that he work them; of anyone who has a craft it is expected that he pass it on to others; of any who has invested money in commerce it is expected that he increase it. Men move, work, beautify things, collect, exchange, buy and sell. Each strives to acquire what is necessary for bodily life, and each strives to improve his health, to take care of his daily needs and to ensure his physical well-being in the longer term. And this is only a rough sketch of what a man must do for his soul, for the soul is the more important. All our external needs are an image of our spiritual needs, and a reminder and teaching that we must exert ourselves on behalf of the hungry and thirsty, the naked and sick, the impure and the miserable, both in body and soul.
Every one of us who has received from God five measures, or two, or one, of faith, wisdom, benevolence, fear of God, yearning for spiritual purity and strength, or meekness, or obedience to God; we must strive at least to double the measure, as the first and second servants did, and as men generally do when engaged in commerce or some craft. He who does not multiply the talent given him--whatever and however great this talent may be--will be cut down like a barren tree and burned. That which is done by a house-holder to every barren fruit tree, that he has vainly dug-out, grafted and fenced around, the Great Householder of the universe, to Whom men are most precious fruit-trees, will do.
"After a long time, the lord of these servants cometh, and reckoneth with them". God is never for a moment far away from men, let alone for a long time. His aid to men flows from day to day, like a river in flood, but His Judgment, His settling of His accounts with men, comes after a long time. Swift with aid to all who seek His help, God is slow to take revenge on those who anger Him, and who aimlessly squander His gifts. Here it is the Last (Final) Judgment that is in question, when time shall come to an end and all the workers will be summoned to receive their pay.
"And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying: 'Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.' His lord said unto him: 'Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou has been faithful over a few things; I will make thee ruler over many things. Enter thou into the joy of thy lord.' He also that had received two talents came and said: 'Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.' His lord said unto him: 'Well done, good and faithful servant: thou has been faithful over a few things; I will make thee ruler over many things. Enter thou into the joy of thy lord.'" One by one the stewards came before the Lord and presented their account of what they had received and what use they had made of it. We shall have to come, one by one before the Lord of heaven and earth, and present out accounts of what we have received and what we have made of it, before millions of witnesses. At that moment, nothing will be able to be hidden or set right. For the Lord will, with His Light, illumine all who are present so that they will all know the truth about one another. If we have, in this life, succeeded in doubling our talent, we shall come before the Lord with bright faces and free hearts, like these two first good and faithful servants. We shall be illuminated by the light of the Lord's countenance, and shall be made eternally alive by His words: "Thou good and faithful servant!" But woe to us if we come empty-handed before the Lord and His Holy Angels like this third, wicked and slothful servant.
What is the meaning of the words: "Thou has been faithful over a few things; I will make thee ruler over many things?" It means that all the gifts that we receive from God in this world, however many they may be are little compared with those blessings that await the faithful in the world to come. For it is written: "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him" (1 Corinthians 2:9). The least effort, stemming from love for God, is rewarded by Him with rich and royal gifts. For that little that the faithful endure in this life out of obedience to God, and as a small effort for their souls. God will crown them with glory such as the kings of this world have neither known nor imagined.
What happens now to the wicked and unfaithful servant? "Then he which had received the one talent came and said: 'Lord, I knew thee, that thou art a hard man, reaping where thou has not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed; and I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth. Lo, there thou hast that is thine.'" This is the justification for his wickedness and sloth that this third servant produced for his Lord! He was not, though alone in this. How very many such are there among us, who impute the blame for their wickedness, carelessness, sloth and selfishness to God? Not acknowledging their own sinfulness, and being unaware of God's loving ways with man, they rail against God from their own weakness, sickness, poverty and failure.
Every word that the slothful servant addresses to his Lord is essentially false. Where does God reap where He has not sown? Where does He gather where He has not strawed? Is there any good seed in this world that is not of God's sowing? Are there any goodly fruits in the whole universe that are not the result of God's labors?
(To be continued)
"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!"--Saint John Chrysostom
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God