There is a part of The Parable of the Talents that always made me uncomfortable. Remember the story? The servant with five talents gained five more and the man with two talents gained two more. Both of them received their master’s approval. But then there was that servant with the single talent who hid it in the ground. All of this was always pretty easy to understand, but it was the fearful, lazy servant’s excuse that gave me pause.
Matthew 25:24–“Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed.”
Is Jesus saying that God is a pirate? Taking in profit from areas where He did not invest Himself… Now any analogy falls through at some point and for many years I figured that this was just the character of the particular businessman that Jesus put into His parable and not the character of God Himself.
Now I’m not so sure.
Because I’ve lived long enough that I have actually witnessed God doing just what the lazy servant describes.
Did God plant the seeds of death in my life when my dad died back in 1993 or when my step dad died two years ago? Did God plant the seeds of alcoholism and drug addiction into the lives of my family members? Did God plant the seeds of murder, disease, abuse, neglect, hate, anger, poverty, hypocrisy, pride, and every other evil we have all seen running rampant through our world?
No, I don’t think He did.
But I have watched God take in a harvest from these terrible seeds time and time again.
So yes, I believe that God is a pirate. I think that Jesus was saying something accurate about His father when he described the master of this parable as a man who wanted a harvest from every seed, even the ones that he did not sow himself.
Because I have seen the abundant harvest that God has reaped in my own heart from terrible crops that He did not sow. Death and pain, loneliness and hypocrisy, anger and hurt and struggle. And I have watched campers come to stand in the firelight on the last day of camp. So many of them tell a tale that is overflowing with the rampant growth of terrible, terrible seeds, seeds that God did not plant in their lives. But nonetheless, these kids stand by the fire with a stick in hand, telling their story in the starlit woods, because God took a harvest all the same.
So yes, my God is a pirate. And I am so glad He is. God does not wait for beauty and peace to enter my life before taking a harvest of righteousness. He marches into my life and yours, saber in hand and a fierce glower upon his brow, and God dares to bring about His glory, for all to see, right there in the midst of Satan’s darkness.
Now that is the kind of master I want to serve.