A Debt Too Big to Pay

Two for a dollar. This was a good price, but little Hudson did not have a dollar; he only had a few pennies. He could not make the salesman understand that two pennies were better than nothing. So he had to turn away, fighting tears because he didn’t have enough money.
If you are older than Hudson, you may have bigger debts and no money to cover them. The man in today’s story was a servant to a king and had used the king’s money to pay off his own debts. Then one day the king found out what his servant had done. By this time the servant’s debt was huge. How could he ever pay back what he owed to the king? The king ordered that all the servant’s possessions, including the servant himself, his wife and his children, should be sold as slaves to pay off the debt. That meant the servant and his wife and his children would be slaves for the rest of their lives!
There was only one thing the servant could think of to do — take the low place and beg for the king’s patience, saying he would eventually pay back the whole amount to the king.
What do you think of that plan? Do you think a servant with no money could pay back the huge, enormous amount of money that he had stolen and wasted? It was a foolish idea, and the king probably knew this, but he felt sorry for the servant and said, I forgive you. So the servant did not have to pay back the huge debt that he owed the king.
How good and kind of the king to forgive his servant. The king was rich enough to spare that money and to forgive the thief and let him go free.
Do you want a God like that king? Maybe you do, but I need a God who goes far, far beyond such kindness. It was God Himself who saved me by sending His only begotten Son to die for me! Jesus paid my debt with His own blood. And He also gave me a new nature that delights to please Him. What a wonderful gift of love and mercy and forgiveness from God!
Now here’s the rest of the story about the forgiven servant. That servant went out a free man, and then he found one of his fellow-servants who owed him a hundred pennies. He took that fellow-servant by the throat and demanded, Pay me that money!
The fellow-servant fell at his feet and begged him, Have patience with me. I will pay the whole amount I owe you! But the servant said, NO, and sent him to prison till he paid every penny. Now that didn’t make sense at all. How could a man in prison pay anything? It was really very foolish to send the fellow-servant to prison!
Now look at your own life. How are you going to pay the debt of your sins to God? Money will never cover that huge debt! What can you do?
Listen to God’s answer. He is ready to forgive you, because He sent His only Son to take your place — to suffer God’s fair judgment against sin and to shed His precious blood for all who have sinned against Him. Nothing else will cover that debt — nothing!
Some of the other servants were very sorry about the fellow-servant being sent to prison, and they told the king.
Call that servant whom I forgave! ordered the king.
You are a wicked servant! said the king. I forgave your debt because you asked me to. Shouldn’t you have pity on your fellow-servant just as I had pity on you? Then the angry king ordered, Send him to the tormentors till he pays all that was due to me!
No doubt the king’s anger was right and the punishment was right. But my God is greater than that. He loves me and gave His only Son for me, and my debt is fully paid. Shouldn’t I then forgive others for His sake? His Word says, “Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:3232And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:32)).
Think About God’s Word!
1. What happened to the forgiven servant who wouldn’t forgive his fellow-servant?
2. Sometimes it is very hard to see the unkindness of others toward us in the proper perspective. We exaggerate their failure and pretend ours isn’t so bad. How did Saul do this in 1 Samuel 15?
Project: What individuals in the Bible had a really hard time forgiving? What were the consequences? You can find at least two of them in the story of the rebellion against King David.