Joke of the Week
This week, two jokes about young people.
A young boy enters a barber shop and the barber whispers to his customer. ‘This is the dumbest kid in the world. Watch while I prove it you.’ The barber puts a dollar bill in one hand and two quarters in the other, then calls the boy over and asks, ‘Which do you want, son?’ The boy takes the quarters and leaves. ‘What did I tell you?’ said the barber. ‘That kid never learns!’ Later, when the customer leaves, he sees the same young boy coming out of the ice cream store. ‘Hey, son! May I ask you a question? Why did you take the quarters instead of the dollar bill?’ The boy licked his cone and replied, ‘Because the day I take the dollar, the game is over!’
SCENE: My teenage daughter and I in the car.
Lauren: Dad, do you know what the most commonly used letter in a girl’s name is?
Me: Hmm, is it a consonant or a vowel? (Silence.) Please tell me you know what consonants and vowels are.
Lauren: You’re no fun, Dad. Forget it.
Me: What is a vowel?
Lauren: OK, OK. A vowel is … ahh … eh … well, oh … uh …
Me: Close enough.
A Freebie for You
‘Tis the season for giving, and I am giving away an ebook. It is not one of Saluda Press’s books; it is the revised version of The Work of His Hands, the ninth-grade science book I wrote and which I used at Covenant High School, Tacoma, Washington, for 14 years. The book is organized according to the first three days of creation described in Genesis. The first unit covers matter and energy (Day 1 of creation); the second unit covers the atmosphere and oceans (Day 2); the third unit covers geology (first part of Day 3) and plants (second part of Day 3). During those creation days God prepared a very good home for man and beast.
The book is available as a Word file. The format is 8 ½ by11 inches. It can be printed out, punched, and put in a notebook, or simply be read online. There are no labs or questions to be answered, but other than that it is very suitable as a reader for home schooling or to provide a Christian approach to science for those in public school. The intended readership is seventh grade and above. I think adults would enjoy and profit from it as well.
You can have the Word file for free by sending me your email address. The file is 27.3M long, and Google insists on sending it via Google Drive. If you have trouble with receiving or downloading a Google Drive file, let me know and I will send it in three parts (Unit I, Unit II Unit II), each of which will be small enough to send as a regular attachment. You can then combine them into one large file if you wish.
Full disclosure: in the geology section I take an old-earth creationist approach (not an evolutionary one). The material on the age of the earth is found in one chapter, which a young-earth creationist can delete or simply not print out. But I hope you will read the chapter before you do that.
Parables of the Kingdom. Parable of the Unforgiving Servant: Matt. 18:21-35
- Who does the king represent?2. Who do the servants represent?
- A talent was approximately 75 pounds of silver or gold. At current prices, 10,000 talents of silver would be worth $157 million and 10,000 talents of gold would be worth $114 trillion. How could a servant possibly owe his master ten thousand talents? What does that debt represent?
- The servant promised to pay it all back. How could he make such a promise? What does that kind of promise represent as far as our sins are concerned?
- The master forgave the entire debt. What is the spiritual meaning of that?
- The fellow servant owed the first servant 100 denarii. That amounted to about 100 days’ wages. Was it reasonable for him to say that he would pay it back if the first servant was patient>
- The master, upon learning of the first servant’s unwillingness to forgive, became angry and “put him in prison until he should pay the debt.” What does the prison represent?
- How long would it take the servant to repay the 10,000 talents?
- What is the point or lesson of the parable?
Exposition of the Parable
This parable immediately follows Matt.19:21-22, where Peter asks the Lord how often he should forgive his brother when he sins against him. The Lord replies in essence that he should always forgive, no matter how many times he is sinned against. The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant reinforces that command, and tells the consequences of not forgiving those who sin against us.
The king represents God; the servants represent people; the debts represents sins. The first servant represents all of us insofar as his debt is so large that it can never be repaid. We can never be good enough to repay God for our sins against him.
The servant asks the master to be patient and says he will repay in time. The disciples, on hearing the parable, knew that was impossible. By making the debt so ridiculously large, the Lord was teaching that nothing one does can pay for one’s sins. We need forgiveness. The fact that the master forgave such a large debt showed that God is willing to forgive the greatest sins.
But our forgiveness is conditional, a fact we Protestants often overlook as we emphasize that we are saved by grace through faith, not by good works. Forgiveness is not conditioned on not sinning again—re-read vs. 21 and 22. It is conditioned on our forgiving those who sin against us. Jesus taught this not only in this parable but also in the Lord’s Prayer in Matt. 6:12:
…and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
Like repentance, forgiveness must accompany faith. Neither repentance, faith, nor forgiving others should be considered good works, though they are necessary if we are to be saved and enter the kingdom of heaven.
The first servant represents us in that he needs forgiveness; he can never pay for his sins. Let us be sure he does not represent us in his unforgiving spirit, for if we harden our hearts and refuse to forgive those who wrong us we will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
All of us are tempted to remember slights and wrongs against us. The flesh may still nurture those feelings, but we can mortify them by our actions. Forgiveness is a conscious act. We can forgive by the power of the Spirit.
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Matt. 6:43-44