Matthew 18:23-26 - (Jesus said) "Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.'"
In the spirit of the season, Mary Horomanski had put some new Christmas lights on her house.
Seeing the house at night, she had to acknowledge it had been a good investment. She just hoped the electricity to run those lights wouldn't become a burden on the family budget. Sometime later, Horomanski received her first bill from Penelec, her electricity provider.
She took a look at the email, took a look at the figures, saw lots of figures. She saw this figure: $284,460,000,000! That's 284 billion dollars.
For just a split second or so, Horomanski wondered if her family had strung those lights incorrectly. They hadn't. Everything had been done rightly. As she scanned her bill, she noted the debt could be paid off in a lump sum or by her making monthly payments. If she opted for the second method, she could begin with her first payment in December and send in a check for $28,156.
To make a long story shorter, Horomanski appealed her bill, and the embarrassed company quickly adjusted it downward. The new figure she owed was $284.46.
Now I like that story. I like that story because it deals with a debt which is so absurdly large it could never be run up by an individual. I think Jesus would have liked that story, too. I say that because in Matthew 18, He told a similar tale.
Similar, but different. Different, because while Horomanski's debt was a mistake, the debt of the servant in Jesus' parable was real. In the parable of the unjust steward, we are told of a man who had managed to run up a debt of 10,000 talents.
Now if you are wondering just how much is a talent. I have to confess I don't know. I've investigated the question and found a whole lot of differing opinions. There are two things on which the experts agree:
• ten-thousand talents was a lot of money;
• the servant was never going to be able to pay off his debt.
In truth, the only thing that saved the servant was the grace of the king who erased the debt completely which is, of course, what the Heavenly Father does for us.
Because of Jesus' most precious sacrifice, all who are brought to repentance and faith find that their sins' debt has been erased, and they are free to go out and, in Jesus' Name, forgive others.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, no matter how hard we tried, we never could have paid the debt for a single one of our sins. Because Jesus has paid for all our sins, we give thanks. In gratitude, may we forgive others as we have been forgiven. In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen.
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one written by Aliza Chasan on December 25, 2017 for PIX. Those who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at the time this devotion was written: click here.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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