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When he began the accounting, one who owed him 10,000 talents was brought to him. But because he could not repay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and his children and everything that he possessed, and payment to be made. So the slave fell on his knees and begged him, saying, “Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.”

Matthew 18:24-26


Perhaps if Jesus was speaking about the rich, young ruler in this parable, the debt amount of 10,000 talents might make sense. Ten thousand talents would be equivalent in today’s currency to somewhere around 6 billion dollars. No doubt the disciples would’ve been in shock about the amount of money that Jesus attributes to this slave’s debt. Jesus is painting a very clear picture of the debt that our sin brings between us and God. We may belittle sin or see it as an easy thing for God to forgive, but the reality of the cross—and what it cost God to forgive us through Jesus Christ—should quickly dispel that idea. The cross was expensive—but it was expensive because our sin is costly and our worth is not small to God. Our sin has cost God His image. Our disconnection to Him has accrued a debt so large it is impossible for any human to repay.

This revelation of debt is powerful, but take note that this was a slave—not a rich, young ruler! What kind of slave has a debt of 6 billion? More importantly, what kind of King gives a servant 6 billion dollars? Not even a boss or a CEO would give an employee that kind of wealth—maybe to the board of the company or to the directors or the owners but not the custodian who cleans the desks and floors in the office. And how come the King didn’t come earlier to settle the accounts?

We may live like slaves—outside of relationship—to the King, but it doesn’t stop Him from treating us like kings. He is slow to anger, and His compassion is seen in His patience. Who we are is a gift from God. He created us in His image, out of the overflow who He is. Who we are is God’s inheritance. This “being human” reality is so valuable to Him. When we live outside of relationship from our Creator, we miss the point of our worth, and we end up spending who we are on things that cause a great debt. Our debt has been building and building, with no end in sight.

When we realize that we need to settle our accounts with our King, we—like this slave—might respond with, "Give me more time.” The disciples would have chuckled at the slave’s response to request more time to repay. There would be no way for a slave to ever repay 6 billion dollars! That request reveals our wrong thinking when it comes to our debt before God, as if there is some way we can be good enough to deserve to be in His presence for all of eternity. There is nothing we can do to repay the billions we owe. Death is the proof that all accounts will be settled. May we not spend our whole life trying to repay the billions when we have a King who has already settled our account! May it be said of us, “Where, O death is your sting?” The sting of our death-debt has been swallowed up by grace. Billions are nothing for this King.

Stop trying to repay something you can’t repay. It’s time to surrender and see how this King will deal with your debt.

// Pastor Josh Kelsey