Pentecost Week Sixteen
God creates inequality, people grumble against inequality. Are people wiser than God? If God creates inequality, then inequality is wiser and better than equality.
God creates inequality for the good of people; people cannot see their own good in the inequality.
God creates inequality for the sake of beauty inequality, people can not see in the inequality of beauty.
God creates inequality for the sake of love, which is ignited and supported by inequality, people cannot see in the inequality of love.
This is the ancient human revolt of blindness against vision, madness against wisdom, evil against good, disgrace against beauty, hatred against love. Even Eve and Adam surrendered to Satan in order to equal God. Cain also killed his brother Abel because God did not equally despise their sacrifices. Since then, the struggle of sinful people against inequality continues to this day. And until that time, and to this day, God creates inequality. We talk "until those times"for God created the angels unequal.
It is pleasing to God that people are not equal in everything external: in wealth, strength, rank, education, position and
God gave man the outer good to serve the inner. For everything external serves the inner man as a means. All temporary is ordained for eternal service, and all mortal is predetermined for service to immortal. A person who goes the opposite way and spends his spiritual gifts solely to acquire external, temporary wealth, wealth, power, rank, worldly glory, is like a son, who inherited a lot of gold from his father and squandered it by buying ashes.
For people who have felt the gifts of God invested in it in their souls, everything external becomes insignificant: as an elementary school for someone who enrolled in high school.
Outside goodness alone are fought by the ignorant, and not by the wise. The sages are fighting a more difficult and more valuable – the struggle for the multiplication of domestic goods.
For external equality, those who do not know how or dare not look into themselves and start working on the inner, main field of their human existence struggle.
God does not look at what a person works in this world, what he has, how he is dressed, fed, educated, whether people respect him – God looks at the heart of man. In other words: God does not look at the external state and position of a person, but at his internal development, growth and enrichment in spirit and truth. This is evidenced by today’s Gospel reading. The parable of the talents, or of the spiritual gifts that God puts into the soul of every person, shows the great inner inequality of people by their very nature. But it shows much more. With his eagle eye, this parable covers the entire history of the human soul, from beginning to end. He who alone fully understood this parable of the Savior and understood the order contained in it with his life would fulfill his eternal salvation in the Kingdom of God.
For He will act as a man who, going to a foreign country, called his servants and entrusted them with his possessions: and he gave one to five talents, to the other two, to another one, each according to his strength; and immediately set off. By man must understand the Most High God, the Giver of all the gifts of the good. Slaves are angels and people. Traveling to a foreign country means God’s long-suffering. Talents are the spiritual gifts that God bestows upon His rational creatures. The greatness of all these gifts is shown by the fact that they are deliberately called talents. For one talent was a large coin, the value of which was equal to five hundred gold gold coins. As has been said, the Lord deliberately called the gifts of God talents in order to show the greatness of these gifts; to show how generously the Perfect Creator has bestowed His creations. So great are these gifts, that one who has received one talent has received quite enough. By the person is also meant our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, as can be seen from the words of the evangelist Luke: some person of a high kind. This man of the highest kind is our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, the Only Begotten Son of God, the Son of the Most High. And this is also clearly seen from the subsequent words of the same evangelist: he went to a far country to get a kingdom and return (
God gives each one gifts according to his strength, that is, according to how much a person can bear and use. Of course, God gives people gifts and the plan of the holy economy. So building a house does not have the same abilities and do not the same job: they have different abilities and different tasks, and each of them works according to their strength!
And immediately set off. These words mean the speed of God’s creation. And when the Creator created the world, He created it quickly. And when our Lord Jesus Christ came to the earth for the sake of a new creation, for the sake of renewing the world, he quickly accomplished His work: calling the slaves, giving them gifts, and immediately left.
So what did the slaves do with their talents?
He who received the five talents went, traded with them, and acquired the other five talents; in the same way, those who received two talents acquired the other two; But he who received one talent went and buried him in the ground and hid his master’s silver. All labor activity and all trade that exists in people is an image of what is happening – or what should be happening – in human souls. From everyone who inherits any property, people expect him to increase this property. From everyone who has acquired a niva, they are expected to process this very niva. Anyone who has learned a craft is expected to become involved in this craft, both for its own benefit and for the benefit of its neighbors. From everyone who knows any handicraft, they are expected to show their knowledge. From everyone who invested money in trade, they expect that this money will multiply. People move, work, improve things, collect, change, sell and buy. Everyone tries to get the right for bodily life, everyone tries to improve their health, satisfy their daily needs and ensure their bodily existence for as long as possible and long term. And all this is only an image of what a person should do for his soul. For the soul is the main thing. All our external needs are images of our spiritual needs, reminders and lessons that we have to work hard and for our soul, hungry and thirsty, naked and sick, impure and miserable. Therefore, each of us who received from God five, two, one measure of faith, wisdom, philanthropy, the fear of God, meekness, obedience to God, or longing for spiritual purity and strength, must work to at least double this measure, as they did the first and second slave, and as usual, people engaged in trade and crafts. He who did not multiply his talent — whatever that talent may be — will be cut down like a tree that does not bear good fruit, and thrown into the fire. What any host does with the barren fig tree, which he vainly ditched, planted and enclosed, but which did not bring him any fruit, the Supreme Householder of the Universal Garden, where people are His most precious trees, will do the same. See for yourself what kind of bewilderment and contempt the people who, having inherited the estate from their father, do not do anything, but burn their heritage for bodily needs and pleasures! Even the very last beggar is not so despised by people as a selfish sloth. Such a person is an authentic image of a sloth who, having received from God one talent of faith, wisdom, eloquence, or some other virtue, buries him, without using, in the dirt of his body, does not multiply his works, from pride and selfishness does not bring anyone benefits.
For a long time, the lord of those slaves comes and demands a report from them. God does not move away from people for a single moment, much less for a long time. His help to the people flows day-to-day with a full-flowing river, but His Judgment, His demand to report to people happens over a long time. The swift Assistant to everyone who calls on him for help, God hesitates to repay insulting Him and dissipating His gifts. Here we are talking about the last, Last Judgment, when the time comes and all the workers will be called upon to accept their pay.
And coming, he who had received five talents brought the other five talents, and said: Sir! you gave me five talents; behold, I have gained the other five talents upon them. His lord said to him: Well, good and faithful servant! in small things you were faithful, I will set you over many things; enter your master’s joy. He also approached one who received two talents and said: Sir! two talents you gave me; Here, the other two talents I gained on them. His lord said to him: Well, good and faithful servant! in small things you were faithful, I will set you over many things; enter your master’s joy. One by one, the slaves approach their master and give an account of what they received and what they earned by means of what they received. One by one, and we will be forced to approach the Lord of heaven and earth and, before the millions of witnesses, to report on what was received and what was earned. At this time, nothing can be hidden or corrected. For the Lord will shine the radiance of those present so that everyone will know the truth about everyone. If in this life we manage to double our talents, then we will stand before the Lord with a clear face and a pure heart, just like these two good and faithful slaves. And let us be forever revived by His words: a kind and faithful slave! But alas, if we stand empty-handed before the Lord and His holy angels, like the third, wicked and lazy slave!
But what do the words mean: in the small you were faithful, I will set you over many? It means that all the gifts we receive from God in this world, no matter how many, are small compared to the treasures that the faithful in the other world expect. For it is written: The eye did not see, the ear did not hear, and something did not come upon the heart of man that God had prepared for those who love Him (
And now let’s see what happens to the servants of the evil and the infidels:
And he who received one talent came up and said: Sir! I knew you that you were a cruel man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter, and, fearing, went and hid your talent in the ground; here’s yours Thus this third slave justifies his masterfulness and laziness before the Lord! But in this he is not alone. How many among us are those who blame God for their anger, neglect, idleness and selfishness! Not recognizing their sinfulness and not knowing the God-loving ways of God, they grumble at God for their infirmities, illnesses, poverty, and failures. First of all, every word spoken by a lazy slave to the Lord is a real lie. Did God reap where he did not sow? And does he collect where he did not scatter? Is there good seed in this world, not sown by God? And are there good fruits in the whole universe that are not the results of God’s work? Crafty and unfaithful complain, for example, when God takes away children from them, saying: "That’s how cruel – He prematurely takes our children away from us!" Who said these kids are yours? Didn’t they belong to Him before you called them yours? And why – untimely? Does the One who has created times and deadlines not know when that time is? Not a single host on the ground lays the felling of his forest, waiting for all the trees in it to grow old, but in accordance with his needs he cuts both old and young, and those that stand a long time ago, and just ascended shoots, – depending on what he needs for his household. Instead of grumbling at God and blaspheming Him, on whom their every breath depends, it would be better to speak like a righteous Job: the Lord gave, the Lord took; as it pleased the Lord, so it was done; blessed be the name of the Lord! And as the wicked and the infidels grumble at God, when hail beats their bread, or when their ship sinks into the sea with a cargo, or when sickness and infirmity attacks them, they grumble and accuse God of cruelty! And this happens only because they either don’t remember their sins, or cannot learn a lesson from it for the salvation of their soul.
To the false justification of His servant, the Lord answers: His Lord answered him: wicked and lazy servant! You knew that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter; therefore you ought to give my money to those who trade, and I, having come, would have received mine with a profit. People involved in operations with money, or else they are called money changers. It is those who exchange one type of money for another and, thus, receive profit as a result of exchange. But all this has its figurative meaning. The merchants should be understood as those who do good, the silver gifts are the gifts of God, and the profit is the salvation of the human soul. See: in this world, everything that happens to people externally is only an image of what is happening – or should be happening – in the spiritual realm. Even money changers are used as an image of spiritual reality taking place inside, in the people themselves! By this the Lord wants to say to the lazy slave: "You have received one gift from God; you did not want to use it for your own salvation; why did you at least not give it to some virtuous person, some kind of heart person who wanted and managed to give the gift to other people who need him so that they could escape more easily? And I, having come, would have found on earth more saved souls: more faithful, more ennobled, more compassionate and meek. Instead, you hid talent in the land of your body, which has decayed in the grave (for the Lord will speak this at the Last Judgment) and which now can not help you!"
Oh, how clear and how terrible a lesson is for those who, having great wealth, do not distribute it to the poor; or, having a lot of wisdom, keeps it closed in itself, as in a grave; or, having many good and useful abilities of any kind, does not show them to anyone; or, having greater power, does not protect the afflicted and oppressed; or, having a great name and glory, does not want to illuminate those in the darkness with a single ray! The softest word that can be said about all of them is thieves. For they consider the gift of God to be theirs: they have appropriated the stranger and hid the gift. However, they are not only thieves, but also murderers. For they did not help save those who could be saved. Their sin is no less than the sin of a man who, standing on the bank of the river with a rope in his hands and seeing someone drowning, did not throw him a rope to save.
Indeed, the Lord will say to such people what he said to this evil servant in this parable.
So, take talent from him and give it to him who has ten talents, for to everyone who has it will be given and multiplied, and from him who has not will be taken away that which he has; but cast out the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And in this life it usually happens that is taken away from the one who has little and given to the one who has. And this is only an image of what is happening in the spiritual realm. Does not the father take away the money from the son of a lecherous one and do not give the son a reasonable one, who can use it for good? Does not a warlord take away ammunition from an irresponsible soldier and give them to a soldier good and reliable? God takes away his gifts from the unfaithful slaves in this life: the hard-hearted rich people usually go bankrupt and die in poverty; selfish sages end in extreme stupidity or insanity; haughty ascetics betray themselves to sin and finish life to great sinners; despotic rulers endure desecration, shame and powerlessness; priests, who did not instruct others with words or examples, fall into more and more serious sins, until in terrible agony they give up their lives; hands that did not want to do the work that they knew how to do, begin to tremble or lose mobility; a language that did not want to speak the truth, which he could speak, swells up or becomes dumb; and, in general, all those who hide the gifts of God die untalented beggars. The one who could not give while he had, will have to learn to beg, when the estate is taken away from him. If the gift given to him by a cruel and miserly self-lover is not taken away just before his death, he will be taken away by his closest descendants or relatives who have received this gift as a legacy. The main thing is that the talent given to him is taken away from the wrong, and after that he is subject to condemnation. For God will not condemn man, as long as God’s gracious gift is preserved in him. Before convicting the earthly court before carrying out the sentence on him, they take off his clothes and put on prison clothes, clothes of condemnation and shame. So any unrepentant sinner will be first exposed from everything that was Divine on him, and then cast into outer darkness: there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
This parable clearly teaches us that not only the one who has done evil, but also the one who has not done good will be condemned. And the Apostle James teaches us: whoever understands to do good and does not, is a sin (
And this parable confirms to us that God is equally merciful to all people; for He gives every created man some kind of gift, indeed, someone – more, someone less – that doesn’t change matters at all, since He asks more from the one who gave more, and less from the one to whom he gave less. But he gives everybody enough so that a person can save himself and help save others. Therefore, it would be a mistake to think that in this parable the Lord speaks only of rich people of various kinds, existing in this world. No, He speaks about all people without exception. Without exception, they come into this world with a certain gift. The widow, who put her last two mites in the Jerusalem temple, was very poor in money, but not poor in the gifts of donations and the fear of God. On the contrary, prudently disposing of these gifts, although through two pitiful contributions, she received the praise of Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Verily I say unto you, that this poor widow laid more than all (
But let’s take the worst and most mysterious case. Imagine a person who is blind and deaf and dumb who has lived his whole life on earth from birth to death. Some of you ask: "What kind of gift from God did such a man receive? And how can he be saved?" He has a gift, and a great one. He does not see people – but people see him. He does not give alms – but awakens mercy in other people. He cannot recall God with the help of words – but he himself is a living reminder for people. He does not preach with words – but serves as evidence of a sermon about God. Truly, he can lead to salvation for many, and through himself can be saved. But know that the blind, deaf and dumb usually do not find themselves among those who have buried their talent. They do not hide from people, and that is enough. For all that they can show, they show. Themselves! And this is silver, which they put into circulation and return to the Lord with profit. They are the servants of God, the reminder of God, the call of God. They fulfill the hearts of human fear and mercy. They represent the terrible and clear preaching of God, manifested in the flesh. It is those who have eyes, ears, and tongue, most often bury their talent in the ground. They have been given much, and when they are asked a lot, they will not be able to give anything.
Thus, inequality lies at the very core of the created world. But this inequality should cause joy, not rebellion. For love affirmed him, not hate, reason, not madness. Human life is ugly, not because of the presence of inequality in it, but because of the lack of love and spiritual reason in people. Bring in more Divine love and spiritual understanding of life, and you will see that even twice as large inequality does not interfere with the bliss of people.
This parable of talents brings light, intelligence and understanding into our souls. But she urges us to action, and urges us not to be late to accomplish the work for which we are sent by the Lord to the fair of this world. Time flows faster than the fastest river. And soon time will come to an end. I repeat: soon the time will come to an end. And no one can return from eternity to take the forgotten and do the unmade. Therefore, we hasten to use the gift of God given to us, the talent occupied by the Lord of Lords. Our Lord Jesus Christ about this Divine teaching, as well as about everything, is fitting honor and glory, with the Father and the Holy Spirit – the Trinity of the All-Subject and the Un-separable, now and ever, at all times and forever. Amen.
From the collection of the works of St. Nicholas of Serbia (Velimirovich), issued by the publishing house of the Sretensky Monastery. You can purchase the edition in the “Sretenie” store.