Sunday, November 19, 2017

Posted on Nov 17 2017

Bible Background: This is the 3rd of 4 ‘judgement/end times’ parables that Matthew places just prior to the plot to kill Jesus; the Last Supper; and events that follow. These parables seem to have some ‘shock-value’, as they call followers of Jesus to remain faithful and stay ‘on duty’ and ‘on task’.

Digging Deeper: 1. The main characters are the man (not to be equated with God), and the third slave (the guy who gets the one talent.) Slave #1 and #2 are mainly window-dressing! A talent is a huge sum of $$, equal to about 15 years of wages. The man entrusts different large sums to the slaves, “each according to his ability.” Then he goes away! At this point, you’d say the master was very trusting! It’s all good so far!

2. Then two of the slaves wheel and deal and double their master’s money! Slave #3 doesn’t do that. He hides the money in the ground to keep it safe. When is it wise to be a risk-taker? When is it wise to be cautious? Can we always know that ahead of time?

3. “After a long time” the master comes back. He commends the two slaves “Well done, good and faithful servants. You have been trustworthy in few things; I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master!” What do those words say to you about our life’s purpose and reward?

4. The other slave calls the master out: “I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting where you did not sow.” He admits “I was afraid.” He presents the master with his money. And he is condemned. What could be commended in this slave’s actions? Why does the master condemn him? (Note that the master does not deny the charges!)

5. The summary line: “For to all those who have, more will be given…but to those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away” makes us ask “Really?” That sounds like the soullessness of today’s economic system, where the rich seem to get richer and the poor get poorer.

6. What would you say the message of this parable is? “Use it or lose it”? “Be bold with the things entrusted to us by God”? “No time for caution and queasiness?” “The power in the words ‘Well done, good and faithful servant?'” Or?