by Jeff Beneze
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“The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.” (Matthew 18:26-27 KJV)
Margin calls... Making purchases based on debt and that practice has finally caught up with you. You know enough to ask for an extension and you know enough to appear humble, but you know if you do not shore up some capital soon; the music will stop playing and you will be absent a chair. The gospel of John tells us early on that though the light shine that darkness could not “comprehend” or perceive it (see John 1:5). Comprehend in this context is literally “to take eagerly”. In this case it appears that it is not merely light or love that is not genuinely understood, but mercy. It is understood in a similar sense as it is asked for when pulled over by a police officer for speeding, but not understood in the sense that it ought to be a mainstay of one's new diet. It is merely a tool that is used to obtain an extension on the time to repay debt with only a better acting experience required than filling out the request for extension form. To receive a full pardon instead of an extension is the jackpot of good fortune. Unfortunately, it is this jackpot of new found wealth that most quickly destroys people.
This particular individual does not let his new found good fortune deter him from the eye opening shot across his bow that he has just received. He may well have felt this to be a temporary stroke of luck that may not last forever. He immediately proceeds to collect where he can before the next margin call is called in. To the world, his actions reflect a certain measure of wisdom. If a tornado has just come through, and thankfully missed your place of business; then the first order of business is to develop a proper disaster recovery plan and commence it's implementation immediately. Returning the favor to someone who owes you money never even crosses his mind because this is strictly in the way of business.
Now before you read the next few verses in the eighteenth chapter of Matthew, notice what this has fundamentally revealed before we even get around to what is reported back to the ruler. This reveals a fundamental lack of knowledge about the character of the ruler. It also reflects a missing closeness with the ruler; much less a desire to be close to or even like the ruler. His lord was merely a lord in the sense of a feudal system in that he had to be dealt with. There was no real desire to mimic or become like him. To comprehend or “to take eagerly” toward a Lord of light is something that we must do long before we arrive in court for any type of judgment. There is a condition of the heart that is developed via time spent seeking after Him in prayer and studying His word that allows our heart the ability to recognize the goodness of His judgment when it arrives. It allows us to genuinely see the importance of mercy when it is offered. It is only then that we can accept an otherwise jackpot of good fortune as the powerful reminder to be likewise merciful. That forgiveness and mercy ought to inspire. It is the time spent in search of and surrender to God now that prepares us for real disaster avoidance. Mercy shown to any other is sometimes only a prelude to a destruction that is inevitable. People can change, but if the changes are here and now and of a smaller nature it is so much easier than the large changes that are requested later in the process.
“But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;” (1 Corinthians 1:27 KJV)
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