A Spoiled Little Heiress
I’m a spoiled little heiress.
But I don’t want to be.
When I think of a spoiled heiress, my mind immediately goes to London Tipton from The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, which was my FAVORITE Disney Channel show growing up. If you’ve never seen it, here’s a picture of London: She lived for free at the Tipton Hotel in Boston, one of many owned by her father. She almost always wore designer clothes, her favorite hobby was shopping with Daddy’s credit cards, and she constantly avoided any form of work, including homework. Throughout the show, it became obvious that while she actually was a very sweet person with a good heart, she was also very spoiled with no concept of money or appreciation for all the things she had been freely given.
Now keep that picture in mind and think of the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant, which Jesus told in Matthew 18:21–35. In the story, a servant owed the king a huge debt but when he was unable to pay it back, the king forgave the debt rather than demanding that he and his family be sold into slavery as payment. The servant then goes to a fellow servant who owes him a much smaller amount and when he can’t pay, the servant has him thrown in jail. When the king finds out, chastises and jails the first servant for refusing to forgive when he himself had been forgiven of so much more.
This was preached on recently at my church, and while the main message is forgiveness, the sermon got me thinking in a little different direction and I’m really only going to focus on the first servant here.
You see, that debt the first servant owed was 10,000 talents and a talent is the equivalent of 20 year’s wages. Meaning that man owed 200,000 year’s wages. In today’s world, that’s roughly $6,000,000,000. I don’t know about you but $6 billion is a lot of money. In the words of Eric my pastor, “How do you even spend $6 billion?!?” Don’t ask me! You’d probably have to buy and island and stock it with sports cars or something crazy like that! And you can forget about ever paying it off!
But the point here is not the money. It’s the size of that debt which the king forgave. See, that was the king’s money that the servant spent. The servant hadn’t earned the money and it was utterly impossible for him to even pay off a fraction of it. If you do the math, if the debt was interest free and the servant saved every penny he earned, it still would have taken him 200,000 years earn enough to pay it off! So when the king forgave that debt, he took a massive loss. A $6 billion loss out of his own pocket to forgive that servant! That’s a pretty big deal!
Now imagine this: what if that servant continued to spend the king’s money? What if he kept swiping the king’s credit card? What if he went and bought more sports cars for his island? He had already been forgiven, and he knew that the king was merciful and loving so he figured the king would always forgive him so he could keep spending. That’s ridiculous! If that happened, that servant is what I would call a spoiled little brat! It brings to mind the picture of London, the spoiled little heiress shopping with no real concept of money!
And this is where we come in. ME, THE SPOILED LITTLE HEIRESS.
The parable of the unmerciful servant isn’t about servants or kings or $6 billion debts. It’s not about any of that! It’s about God, His Son, and our sins. It’s a picture of His love and forgiveness.
In the story, Jesus tells us that the king is God our Father and we are the servant. Yep, that’s right. YOU AND ME ARE THE SERVANT WITH THE $6 BILLION SPIRITUAL DEBT. And before you say that’s not accurate, that you’re a pretty good person, you couldn’t possibly owe God that much, I’m going to stop you right there and say you’re calculations are way wrong. You do owe God that much. And so do I.
My pastor described it this way: “You are nothing like God and God is nothing like you. He’s not just a little bit sinful; He’s not just a little bit impure. He is 100% holy. And there is no impurity in Him. None. He is separate from all evil. He is just; He is good; He is right; He is pure; He is true; He is perfect 100% in all of those things. He always was and He always will be.” That’s God. And that’s not even close to us.
You see, God remembers every single thing we ever did. The good, the bad, and the ugly; He remembers it all. And not just that, He remembers our all words. The gossip, the judgments, and the snide comments; every single word. I hope you’re starting to realize where your debt is coming from. But that’s still not all. God knows our thoughts too and our intentions. Every selfish, lustful, and prideful thought. He knows the intentions of our hearts even better than we do. And God is a good record keeper. He kept track of every single sin you and I ever committed. Every time the servant swiped the master’s credit card, it was recorded and it added up quickly. We really do owe that massive $6 billion spiritual debt.
THANK GOODNESS FOR THE GOSPEL! Can you imagine actually trying to repay that debt on your own?! It’s impossible! But someone’s got to pay it! Payment of a debt that big would cost you your life. Life spent tortured in prison for the servant and death for us. Paul tells us in Romans that the wages for our sin is death. That’s not good news.
The good news is when the king had mercy on the servant and cancelled his debt at his own expense. The good news is that God had mercy on us and sent His Son to die and pay our debt for us. That’s the good news. That’s the gospel that saves us.
Remember we’re spoiled little heiresses though. We’re basically brats. Because WE’RE STILL RACKING UP DEBT! We’re still swiping the king’s credit card. We’re still sinning against God. And so often, we know it’s wrong and we simply do it anyway because we know He is forgiving. Think about how wrong that is!
You’ve done it and so have I. We’re spoiled little brats, ungrateful for what we’ve been freely given, disregarding the price that was paid on our behalf, carelessly spending what’s not ours. That’s us and that’s not a good picture. You’re probably feeling pretty guilty right about now.
So how do we change? How do we stop acting like spoiled little brat heiresses? How do we stop blatantly sinning against God every day of our lives?
Here’s a few things that I’ve learned.
We change by recognizing who we really are and who God is. God is not our bank, or genie, or vending machine. He is our loving Father and we are His ungrateful, rebellious children. This parable helps us to see that. When we become aware of our full debt to God and the price He paid to cover it, it will make us want to change. It’s a mindset shift. It doesn’t mean you’ll stop sinning right way. We’re addicted to sin and it takes a lot of grit, grace, and God in order to stop, but makes us want to stop.
*A simple thing you can do to help with this is start a gratitude journal or list. Simply record a few things each day that you are grateful for, things that you didn’t produce for yourself, things that God has done for you. I do this every night and it really helps me to remember who the King is and that I am only a servant.
We change through prayer. It kinda goes without saying that Satan doesn’t want us to change. He wants you to be that spoiled little heiress forever. Change is a spiritual battle that takes spiritual weapons. Weapons like prayer. Weapons like the armor of God found in Ephesians 6:10–20. So make sure you’re fighting properly.
*A few resources I love to help fight this battle are written by Priscilla Shirer. Her Armor of God Bible Study is so informative and deep, it really helped me to be prepared for battle. Her book Fervent (inspired by the movie war room) is about intentional, powerful prayer and it is sooo good. I wrote a post awhile ago about how much of a jerk Satan is to us, you can read that here.
We change by getting out of sinful situations. If you’re friends are still acting like spoiled little heiresses, or if they don’t even know God to begin with, it could be time to shift your social circles. Don’t just drop them as friends, but surround yourself with more Godly people who will encourage you and lift you up; people who will hold you accountable in your battle against sin.
*Get involved at a church. Join a small group. Get a mentor. Volunteer at a ministry somewhere. There are even Facebook groups to join that will help you meet people and be encouraged by Godly peers.
We change by making changes. Simply put, you’ve got to be intentional and put some work in. By default, as sinful broken humans, we are spoiled little brat heiresses. If we just drift though life, that will never change.
So you see, we act like London Tipton. We act like we’re spoiled little heiresses.
But we don’t have to be.
The Sunday after New Years, my pastor Eric spoke on this parable and that’s what got to ball rolling in my mind to write this post. The whole message is AWESOME and hits the point of forgiveness. I really encourage you to listen to it here. Click on the message titled “January 3, 2021, Eric”.