“And he who had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew that you were a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter. And I was afraid and went and hid your talent in the earth. Lo, you have yours. His lord answered and said to him, Evil and slothful servant! You knew that I reaped where I did not sow, and gathered where I did not scatter, then you should have put my money to the exchangers, and coming I would have received my own with interest.” (Matthew 25:24-27)
Like the servant described in the above passage who thought that his master was a “hard” man, “reaping where he did not sow,” many of us today struggle with a wrong view of God, thinking that He, too, is like that. But even if we are wrong in our understanding of who God really is, the above passage suggests — no, really states — that it is best for us to “follow through” with serving God based on that wrong understanding. At least that will demonstrate that we fear God and take Him seriously.
One of the things that has “saved me” repeatedly, is that, even though my view of God was (and probably still is to a certain extent) tainted, I nevertheless “followed through” on that view of God. You see, I feared God so much, that if I thought He was asking something of me (even if He wasn’t), I nevertheless followed through on it! That occurred, for example, on one occasion when I thought God was “speaking to me” to “give up my wedding” and “lay it all down for him.” Mistakenly, I told my fiancee that it was “all off.” The problem lay in my misunderstanding of God’s character (who He really was). He was not a “hard man” who was inconsistent or who wavered in his decisions. He was consistent, caring. I could count on him. He would not change his mind at the last minute.
The man described above also did not understand God’s character very well. He was confused. That confusion led him to viewing his master (really, God, in this story), as a “hard man, reaping where he did not sow (etc.).” But his master was not like this. The man was making his master out to be “mean” — perhaps that is the impression he had of authority figures while growing up. But the story goes on to say that, if that had been his sincere view of God, at least he (still) should have served God. After all, he had the faith to know and believe that his master would be returning to “settle accounts.” So the master rebuked him, and said, “You should have put my money to the exchangers, and coming, I would have received my own with interest.” (verse 27)
Let’s do our best to serve Him, with the talents and the gifts that we have been given, and to the best of our abilities — even if our view of Him is wrong. Also, let’s understand something about His character. He is not that “hard man, reaping where he does not sow.” No, God is not like that. He is good, consistent, caring, merciful, and loving (He is a “rewarder of those that diligently seek Him,” as we read in Hebrews 11:6). By the way, there is a wonderful promise found in Scripture, that says that if we will do our best to obey Him (even if we don’t quite understand Him), then He will continually “reveal Himself” to us in more intimate ways, so that our understanding of Him will increasingly become better. Jesus said, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me. And he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will reveal Myself to him.” (John 14:21)