I’m not sure if the epiphany came at the funeral, or the wedding. I feel like it might have been something our friend Mark said, in his prayer, at Hans’ and Casey’s reception. And yet, the context does seem to fit the funeral better.
“Well done, good and faithful servant…”
Both were on Friday. A funeral in the morning, for our dearest Mrs. Lee. My lifelong best friend’s mom, who in so many ways was a mentor to me. None of us were ready to lose her—she who still had her irons in so many fires—directing her choirs, teaching her classes at the Montessori schools, choosing music for our “Red Thread” curriculum, and it was just a few weeks ago we’d sat side-by-side at a planning meeting. Ahhh… Beloved matriarch of her blessed family, and nobody is ever ready for good-bye.
The wedding came a few hours later, the daughter of our best Andover neighbors. After threats of rain showers and an entire week of unbearable heat, the outdoor ceremony was picture perfect, and I exclaimed out loud when I saw the bride. Expecting beautiful, astonished by stunning.
Whatever the context, I was still mentally processing the next morning as we embarked on our 250-mile road trip for a 10:30am bridal shower for our newest daughter-to-be…
This parable. A man goes on a journey, entrusts gold to his servants…
It’s probably this image more than any other, compelling me to finish the book I’ve been writing. Not wanting to be the servant with the one bag of gold, paralyzed by indecision, digging a hole in the ground for my bit of treasure. “I just want to be faithful.” Seriously. My only motivation from the very beginning.
But this time I hear one line from the familiar story, and the whole thing flashes through my mind with crazy new meaning: 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!
Maybe it was the brief conversation I’d had with my grieving friend, Friday morning. I’d been desperate to find Michelle—to hug her, to see with my own eyes if she’s doing okay. Which she isn’t, probably. It’s not okay. She said something to my husband about heaven, and a conversation we’d had, years ago, at the cabin. A book he’d suggested. And she tells us at the luncheon, after the funeral, how that one conversation came back and helped her, when she’d needed it most.
So maybe it’s Mrs. Lee I’m thinking about when this parable is mentioned, and in an instant, there is clarity of meaning like I’ve NEVER seen it before.
You have been faithful…
Here in this earthly life. Entrusted to us. Whatever it is. Bags of gold, or schools full of children, or things to write, or people to love. In the parable, it’s all the same treasure, but in my brief epiphany/vision it’s each of us receiving our own unique something, and what we do with it, remains to be seen.
You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many…
Always, before, I took this to mean multiplication in the here and now. You’re faithful with one school, I’ll give you three. (Which is just how it seems to have happened for Michelle.)
But now I have this flash of meaning, so clear, and so profound, I find myself thinking about it over and over…
Come and share your master’s happiness!
Seeing now, in my imagination (I think it really was at the wedding) Jesus coming back to set up His kingdom, here on earth. Faithful humans reigning and ruling, like God always intended. Doing the things He’s prepared them to do.
This life. Here. Is preparation.
Which is to say. Using Mrs. Lee as example…
Well done, good and faithful servant. Here in your earthly life, you took all He gave you, faithfully invested, a double return, on everything given.
And NOW, in the next life, it doubles again. Now waiting (in time unmeasured) for Jesus’ return…the earth renewed…and the faithful to rule.
THINK, Mrs. Lee, of the choirs you’ll be given!
Gardens to plant…houses to build…classrooms full of infinite learning…books to be written…worlds to explore…
More than all we can ask or imagine—
I will put you in charge of many things…
Never before had I thought of it this way, but in a flash this familiar phrase from a familiar story takes on brand new meaning, and my head spins with this thinking. And our dear Mrs. Lee… oh good heavens… all of eternity, you’ll never be bored!