Let us pause together to reflect on this great curiosity,
That our God should reach out to humankind with a book,
Knowing full well that not everyone will read
Or listen to it being read aloud, and that
Only a few will ever dig out its treasures.
Naturally, God would be quite fully aware
That not everyone will care much
For what he has had to say.
And if those books are to be believed,
It seems he has made no happy provision
For those who do not care enough
To consume what he has granted.
Even so, we have seen a great many churches
Spring up, as if having been commissioned
On second thought by God himself
To go after the disinterested godless,
Chasing them down that slippery slope
With their various entertainments―
As if God had been shortsighted
Not to include them in his original plan―
And as if the hordes can be herded successfully
Into Heaven later, even though he was
Formerly adamant that they would
Have no place there.
And we watch as they methodically seek out
The very ones who disqualify themselves
By way of their own disinterest in God.
And then we see them bemoan the sad state
Of the sorry church that results from such policy
All the while, daring to believe that better
Should have been expected!
And the irony here, of course,
Is that they would know better
Than to expect this to work out well
If they themselves had read the book
For comprehension, rather than simply
To read in the playacting of “church”.
But this would require that they had been
The sort to be willing first to be the student,
Whether they ever get to be the teacher or not.
It would seem they missed altogether, somehow,
The idea that God expects them each
To learn the material themselves, and are hoping
That God will accept a substitute deal whereby,
Rather than having to learn it themselves,
They will receive equal credit for pretending to be
Helping the disinterested learn it.
And the inquisitive soul may wonder at this story,
Puzzling over how the churchers could have missed it.
Is it not because nearly every one of the churchers, too,
Were recruited from among the disinterested―
By way of entertainments and incentives offered up
By fellow non-learners―
Until it started to sound pretty good to them, too,
That they could take part in selling the idea
That non-learners can get to Heaven, too?
Think about it:
Who but a non-learner would better like
Such an idea?
In this way, I can see how those writings
Seem to serve as a test of some sort,
Designed to admit some while excluding the rest
As if by them, God were separating out
The sheep from the goats.
And while we may not see it ourselves,
God can see by our responses to the writings
Which of us are fit for his heavenly kingdom―
Which of us care enough to learn
What the books mean.
There is a fairly recent school of thought that has popped up among these camps, whereby all Christians are said to be “Imagers” of God―where the emphasis is not on the actual walking in the Way the Truth, and the Life, but in being a “representative” of God to the world. I believe that this is one of the enticements I mentioned in the poem above. It is a sinister twisting of the texts. It appeals to the proud, for having not lifted a finger to improve the sad state of their own souls, they are suddenly discovered, as it were, and plucked out of the doldrums with a new mission of representing a God they do not know
The churches seem to be generally built around such people, and it is no wonder to me at all that Bible illiteracy among the churches is in such a shambles. It was never their aim. And they know it.
And so does God.
The question that remains (for some), then, is whether God really meant it all those times he talked like one would have something to show for himself if he were going to get into Heaven.
The Parable of the Bags of Gold
Matthew 25:14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag,[a] each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’
21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
22 “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’
23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold 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. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
28 “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
So many will never accept that they are accountable before God for what they make of their lives here. That idea is a deal-breaker for them. Yet they can easily find a church that will promise them a way around it, and protect them from it (they think) for as long as they live.