Today’s Scripture Selection: Matthew 18:23-24

“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.  As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him.”

How much? Ten thousand talents.  And how much is that?  Millions of dollars.

He couldn’t pay – so he and his family and all that he had were to be sold to pay the debt – or at least part of it.

He pleaded – he begged – and, miraculously, it worked.

The enormous debt was cancelled.

Then what happened?

The one who had been forgiven SO much – went out – and happened to find a fellow who owed him a hundred denarii.

How much?  A hundred denarii.  And how much is that?  A few bucks.

The debtor fell on his knees and begged.  Only there would be no forgiveness of the small debt.

Well, word got around.  You know how that goes – what goes around – comes around.

And the unmerciful servant found himself before his master once again.  This time – there would be no mercy.  And…

Let’s just say it didn’t turn out well for him.

What started Jesus telling this dramatic tale?  Peter had asked him a simple question.  How many times should he forgive a brother who had sinned against him?

Jesus response made it pretty clear, didn’t it?

We think of talents as things we do in life – and do well.  We sing; dance; play a sport well; tell a good joke – whatever.

But the talents in this story are all about debts owed; debts forgiven.  And how that all relates to the kingdom of God.

It all comes down to this.  We all have need of mercy, now and then.  God shows it to us on a regular basis.

How can we do anything but follow that example when it comes our turn to show a little mercy; a little grace; a little love?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for forgiving me my faults and shortcomings – time and time again.  Help me, Lord, to be a merciful, forgiving person as well.  AMEN.


By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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