Generally speaking, it’s unwise to make assumptions about a person or situation. While on occasion, our assumptions turn out to be correct, they most typically wind up being hurtful or creating an unrealistic expectation.
And about no one is it more critical to not assumptions than God.
Yet, we do it all the time.
When we understate our sin, we make an assumption about God—that being, that He doesn’t really care all that much.
When we do what God commands out of obligation or fear of punishment, we make an assumption about God—that He’s capricious and mean-spirited, looking down on us and just waiting for us to screw up. And when we do, oh, boy…
Reading the parable of the ten minas in Luke 19:12-27 reminded me of this:
“A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return. Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’ But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’ When he returned, having received the kingdom, he ordered these servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by doing business. The first came before him, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made ten minas more.’ And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you have been s faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’ And the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made five minas.’ And he said to him, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’ Then another came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your mina, which I kept laid away in a handkerchief; for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man. You take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ He said to him, ‘I will condemn you with your own words, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow? Why then did you not put my money in the bank, and at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’ And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’ And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten minas!’ ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and a slaughter them before me.’”
There’s a lot here, but take a look at this: “Then another came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your mina, which I kept laid away in a handkerchief; for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man. You take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow'” (v. 20-21).
What is this servant doing? Making assumptions about the character of the nobleman (Jesus).
How do we know this?
The nobleman’s incredulous response: “I will condemn you with your own words, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow? Why then did you not put my money in the bank, and at my coming I might have collected it with interest?” (v. 22-23, emphasis mine)
Here’s the big idea—When we make assumptions about the character of God, and we fail to repent of our false assumptions, we show that we do not truly know God at all.
This is a very scary thought, isn’t it?
We know what God is like, because He has revealed Himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ, and in the pages of Scripture.
But we don’t think He’s actually who He says He is. Think about it:
If we truly believed that He is loving, we wouldn’t shake our fists at the sky every time we get dumped on in life.
If we truly believe that He is good, we wouldn’t continually try to obey because we’re afraid of punishment.
If we truly believed that He is holy, we wouldn’t simply accept sin in our lives as often as we do.
The wicked servant did not do anything with the mina because he did not believe he needed to. He made an assumption.
I’m not writing this pointing my proud finger at anyone else but me. I struggle with these issues almost every day, because, honestly, it’s often easier to just make an assumption than do the hard work of putting my sin to death.
So let’s not make assumptions about God.
Let’s not assume that He’s cool with whatever our pet sin is. He’s not. Let’s not assume He’s fine with us not using our gifts to build up the church and glorify Him.