Saturday, June 5, 2010

Handle the Word of God Carefully

If you don’t already know I have three children who are 11, 13 and 16. I assign them weekly chores that pay a certain amount, so one chore is worth a different amount than another chore. I also rotate their chores every week so they aren’t doing the same ones. It’s a system that I have down pretty pat.

No today’s blog is not a parenting lesson. Something struck me about all of this that connects to the Word of God. It will make more sense in a moment.

My three children are very different from one another. They have different personalities and interests. The way they approach their chores is very different, too.

To protect their identity I won’t say who…but I have one child who not only does every chore on the list but will sometimes take another child’s chores if they don’t want to do it. This child doesn’t mind extra work if it will provide extra money.

Then I have another child who won’t do extra chores like that first child but will do whatever needs to be done, just enough to get by with a little bit of money.

Then there is the third child that usually doesn’t earn their full amount of allowance at the end of the week because that child has done less than was assigned and allowed that first child to take on some of their chores.

Which brings me to the parable of the talents, a parable that has been interpreted probably hundreds of different ways. Now here is what I think. I try very hard to not interpret as much as I do try to apply a Biblical principle to our lives. Interpretation can be a slippery slope and I would never want to be accused of interpreting falsely. So I choose instead to find an application for the parable of the talents. Just something to keep in mind…

Let me just break all down for you. A man is going on a journey and so he has to leave behind some of his property to be taken care of. I am the mom who is going on a journey called “life.” I am trying to make a living, run a household, take care of three children and be a loving wife. I need some help with some of my things, so I assign chores to my children.

He gives each one of his servants a different amount of talents. Every week I give my children different amounts of chores which equal to different amounts of money that can be earned.

Each servant handles their talents differently, just as I have already shared that my children do with their chores. One of the servants doubled what was given to him. That is like my first child who does more than their assigned chores.

The next servant earned just a couple more. That’s about as comparable as I can get to my child who usually does no less and no more.

Then there is the servant who not only didn’t earn more talents but actually hid the talent in the ground. This is like my child who would rather bury the chores and not even think about them.

The parable of the talents can be applied to our lives in so many different ways. It can be applied to the way we handle money, how we use the talents and skills that God has given us, how we deal with responsibility and yes, even how my children handle their chores. I think taking something from the Bible and finding a way to apply it to your life is great. Jesus used stories and parables all the time to try and make a point.

However we have to be careful, as I said in the beginning, about interpretation. In my work as a writer, I enjoy reading other writer’s work. However there are times when I literally cringe because I read something that just doesn’t sit very well with me.

We have to be careful that we don’t take scripture and turn it into a mandate. We shouldn’t try to put our own interpretation into what it means and then declare to others that they should interpret it the same.

Interpretation has created a lot of false messages. Just last night my husband and I were watching 20/20 which had this segment on about a family who teaches their children that God hates America, Jews, gays, and those who fight in the military. They were interpreting God and His Word to be based on hate. All I could think was that I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes.

The great thing is that sometimes we may get a particular message from Scripture because that is something God is trying to speak to us about personally. We need to be sure that we handle it the right way. We need to handle the Word of God carefully.

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