by Tom Plonski
We know that Jesus is our savior. We often hear preachers speak about Jesus being our savior. Jesus is also the King of Kings. People who are loyal to an earthly king will obey the laws of the earthly king. If we accept Jesus as our king then we must obey His laws. Jesus said, "If you love me, obey my commandments." If we want to live happy and peaceful in the Kingdom of God, then we must obey the laws of the Kingdom of God. On the night we call the Last Supper, Jesus gave us a new and everlasting covenant. That is the night he gave us the new commandment. The laws of the Kingdom of God are the Eleven Commandments.
Jesus is also our judge. Jesus will judge each and every one of us. He will not be judging us on how much money we accumulated. He will not be judging us on how intelligent we are. He will not be judging us on how charming we are when we are talking with our friends. Jesus will only be judging us on how well we kept the Eleven Commandments.
The Eleven Commandments are about love and responsibility. To understand the Eleven Commandments well we must understand what Jesus means by love and we must also understand our responsibilities under the Eleven Commandments.
Here I want to speak to you about our responsibilities.
Jesus gave us the Parable of the Good Samaritan and the Parable of the Talents. Jesus gave us these parables so we would have an easy way to remember his teachings about responsibility. In the parable of the good Samaritan we have a situation where a man is lying by the side of a road. The man is injured and bleeding.
A rabbi walks on the road. The rabbi is a teacher about the Ten Commandments. The rabbi notices the injured man but the rabbi looks the other way and thinks to himself,"I am a righteous man. I do not break any of the Ten Commandments. I do not steal, I do not murder, I do not commit adultery. God is pleased with me. This injured man by the side of the road is not my responsibility. The Ten Commandments make no mention of helping an injured man by the side of the road. God is satisfied with me. This injured man is not my responsibility."
Next a Levite walks on the road. The Levite is a person who has spent much time studying the Ten Commandments. The Levite also notices the injured man but the Levite looks the other way and thinks to himself,"I am a righteous man. I do not break any of the Ten Commandments. I do not steal, I do not murder, I do not commit adultery. God is pleased with me. This injured man by the side of the road is not my responsibility. The Ten Commandments make no mention of helping an injured man by the side of the road. God is satisfied with me. This injured man is not my responsibility."
Next a Samaritan walks on the road. In Jesus's time the Samaritans were despised by the Jews. The Samaritans were considered to be low class. The Samaritans were treated like the untouchables in India. No respectable person would even talk to a Samaritan. Jesus chose the Samaritan for His parable because everyone would know that this was not a well-educated man who knew all the details of the Ten Commandments. The Samaritan also noticed the injured man by the side of the road. Jesus said the Samaritan took pity on the injured man. Pity is a form of love. Jesus is showing that the Samaritan was acting out of pure motives.
The Samaritan was doing things from true love. The Samaritan accepted the responsibility for helping this injured man. The Samaritan bound the wounds of the injured man. The Samaritan even took the injured man to an inn and the Samaritan took money out of his own purse to pay the inn keeper to care for the man. The Samaritan did all this from motives of true love. The Samaritan did not receive a benefit from helping this injured man. The Samaritan willingly sacrificed his own time and money for the benefit of this injured stranger. The Samaritan did all this with no hope of receiving payment back. This is what Jesus would have done. The Samaritan was doing this from true love and willing sacrifice. The Samaritan accepted the responsibility wholeheartedly and without resentment. This Samaritan was obeying the Eleventh Commandment even though this Samaritan had never even heard of the Eleventh Commandment.
This parable is a lesson. This parable is a lesson about true love and this parable is a lesson about accepting responsibility.
Jesus also gave us the parable of the talents. In this parable a master is preparing to leave for a long journey. He calls his servants and gives each some money. He tells them to take good care of the money and make it grow for him while he is gone. The money is given in the form of gold coins. These gold coins were called talents. The master gave ten talents to one servant, five talents to another, and one talent to a third servant. Then the master left on his journey.
While the master was gone, two of the servants used the money well. They bought and sold and traded wisely so each was able to double the money they had started with. But the third servant made no effort to use the money for business purposes. The third servant just hid the one talent he had. He hid the one talent he had by burying it in the ground.
When the master returned he called his servants to him. He called his servants to give an accounting of their talents. The first two servants reported excellent profits for the master but the third just dug up the same one talent his master had given to him and returned it to his master with no profit. The master was very pleased with the first two servants and gave them more responsibilities. But the master called the third servants a "worthless servant." The master took the one talent away from him and gave it to the servant with the most talents. Then the master fired the worthless servant and cast him out.
The master held all these servants responsible for what they did with the talents that were given to them. So it is with God. Talents can also relate to other things besides gold coins. Each one of us has special talents given to us from God. No two people have the same talents. Each one of us has special talents all our own. With each talent God gives us He also gives us a responsibility.
Jesus,the Judge of all, holds us responsible for what we do with our talents. We must each of us discover our own special values. We must each of us discover our own special talents.
We must not hide our talents. We must make then grow.
How can we know our talents?
Every person does not have the same talents so every person does not have the same responsibilities. Let's look at an example. If I see an injured man by the side of the road, there are several possibilities in regard to my responsibilities. If the injured man is already being treated by paramedics or a doctor, then I probably have no responsibility at all. If no one else is near and I am the only one who sees the man is injured and bleeding then I have responsibilities here. If I know how to stop his bleeding and bind his wounds then I have the responsibility to do so. If I do not know how to do these things then my talents are elsewhere. Maybe the only talent I have here is to run and find someone else who can better help the man. In all these cases my responsibility differs according to my talents and how I use my talents depending on the circumstances.
In general, if you see something that needs to be done and you have the talent, the time, and the means to do it, then this thing becomes your responsibility to some extent. The extent of the responsibility depends on the extent of your talents, time, means, and the circumstances.
If there is a need and you have the talent, the time, and the means then it very much becomes your responsibility. This is so even if others around you are not performing their responsibilities. The rabbi and Levite did not accept responsibility for the injured man but the Samaritan did.
In life we often find that others are looking away from responsibilities. We must not also look away just because everyone else refuses to accept responsibilities.
We have a duty to do good things. Every place we are and every place we go, the world should be a better place because we have been there. Our efforts don't only have to wait until there is an injured man by the side of the road. Even very small things are valuable as offerings to God.
Even very small things are valuable as offerings to God. If you are walking and see some litter on the ground and you have the time to do it, then bend over and pick up some of the litter. While you are picking up trash along the roadside, if someone asks you what you are doing or why you are doing this work, say: "The earth is God's creation. It belongs to God. I am God's servant. So I am cleaning God's earth for Him." You do not have to clean the whole earth, just clean up what you can where you are.
Do good things for the right motive. Do them out of pure love. Do them as offerings to God.
We break the first Ten Commandments by doing something wrong. We break the Eleventh Commandment by not doing something right.
Jesus said, "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all else will also be given to you." The more you use your talents in a loving way the more your talents will grow.
Think often about the Eleventh Commandment. We should always be alert to be using our talents for service to God. Keep asking yourself, "What should I be doing now? What does Jesus want me to be doing now?" This will lead you more and more to becoming the person God wants you to be. It is a good feeling to know that Jesus is pleased by what we do.