Have you ever wanted to follow a dream so you asked God about it—and then waited? And waited. And waited. But the angel Gabriel didn’t light up the night with a message from on high, and when the next day came, there wasn’t any giant billboard along the road with your name in giant letters telling you what to do. So then you decided to do the Gideon thing and “lay a fleece” before the Lord saying something like, “Okay, God, if the sun rises tomorrow, I’ll know you’re saying ‘yes,’ and if it doesn’t, it’s a ‘no’. Got it.” And then the sun didn’t rise so you kept asking because that wasn’t what you wanted to hear.
Ever been there?
Jesus once told a parable about a rich man who had three servants to whom he announced that he would be going away for an extended period of time. But before leaving, the master gave each of the servants talents ($) to invest, saying that when he came back, he would expect to see a return on his investment. Then he gave a different number of talents to each servant according to his abilities. But it’s not the number of talents that’s important; the way the servants invested them is the point.
The key thing in this parable is that the master distributed the talents—and then left. The servants weren’t able to call him on his cell or message him or email him to ask what they should do. The master gave them the freedom to do whatever they thought was best with their talents—as long as the results benefited his kingdom. So what did they do? The best they knew how to do.
Except for one of them.
What do you call a man who, when asked for food and drink by an army of 400 warriors, deliberately refuses them and then insults them?
How about “fool”?
Coincidently, that was the meaning of the name of Abigail’s husband, Nabal. Backstory (I Sam. 25): David and his mighty men, hungry and thirsty, had come upon Nabal’s men shearing his hundreds of sheep (Nabal was rich) and asked them for food and drink. Since David and his men had often protected Nabal’s herdsmen from danger, it wasn’t therefore asking too much for David to make such a request of Nabal. What was unusual was for Nabal to refuse David – especially considering that Nabal was plenty rich enough to provide food for David and his men. And most especially considering that it was – well, David and his men. Four hundred of them. With swords.
But – was Nabal’s foolish behavior really so coincidental?
Perhaps not. It’s difficult to imagine the impact of growing up and hearing yourself called “fool” every time anyone mentioned your name. Consequently, Nabal might simply have become convinced that that’s all he would ever be – whether he tried otherwise or not. So (I’m speculating), consciously or not, Nabal began to imitate other fools.
That’s what’s known as a “word curse;” we tend to become what we’re told we are. Jesus referred to such words as “idle words” and said that we’ll be held accountable for every idle word we speak. Why? Because people believe what they hear about themselves – for better or worse.