And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.
It was an impossible sum, and surely we can understand that. At certain moments in our lives, perhaps we feel so strongly the accumulation of sin held to our account. In those last desperate moments as an unsaved person, perhaps we realized just then what this servant must have felt, knowing we owe much more than we could ever pay. It’s not like the king of this servant had added other people’s debts in with the servant’s. He did not add payments to his account for things others had borrowed. The servant had accumulated this debt all on his own.
Perhaps the servant stood there wondering just how he had managed to accumulate such a debt. Maybe he had been careless with his possessions or his business dealings. Maybe he made poor choices and kept trying to cover for them, all the while gathering more and more debt. As he looked back on his life, dissatisfied and full of regret, maybe he wondered how he would ever make things right.
Maybe we find ourselves in that same position—looking back on a life wasted, full of regret for the poor choices we’ve made. Perhaps we’re adding it all up and are staggered at the sum, the amount of debt we’ve accumulated. We think about all we’ve tried to accomplish, all the work we’ve done, all the finagling and scrimping, all the cut corners, all that we’ve wasted and all that we’ve lost, and here we are ten thousand talents in the hole.
Our sin debt is this impossible sum as we stand far outside God’s standards of holiness and righteousness. There is no way for us to pay off this debt on our own, though we’d spend our whole life trying to work enough. It illustrates not only the futility of works, but the abundance of God’s grace in His power and ability to forgive all of our sin. We may have done horrible things in our lives and feel that we are out of the reach of God’s grace. But there is no debt that God is unwilling to forgive when we come and lay it all before Him and ask for His mercy.
The servant in this parable went away forgiven of much but was unwilling to forgive his fellow servant a much smaller debt. Let’s not take God’s mercy for granted by being unmerciful ourselves after we’ve been forgiven of so much. Let’s realize that no amount of sin is too much for God to forgive. And let’s seek to move forward after salvation to a life of grateful service to our King.