Scripture: Matthew 25:14-30 (alternate reading: Mark 6:17-29)
14 "For it will be as when a man going on a journey called his
servants and entrusted to them his property; 15 to one he gave
five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to
his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five
talents went at once and traded with them; and he made five
talents more. 17 So also, he who had the two talents made two
talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and
dug in the ground and hid his master's money. 19 Now after a long
time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with
them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward,
bringing five talents more, saying, `Master, you delivered to me
five talents; here I have made five talents more.' 21 His
master said to him, `Well done, good and faithful servant; you
have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter
into the joy of your master.' 22 And he also who had the two
talents came forward, saying, `Master, you delivered to me two
talents; here I have made two talents more.' 23 His master said to
him, `Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful
over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy
of your master.'
24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, `Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not winnow; 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.' 26 But his master answered him, `You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sowed, and gather where I have not winnowed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to every one who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.'
Meditation: What can economics and productivity teach us
about the kingdom of heaven? Jesus' story about a businessman who
leaves town and entrusts his money with his workers made perfect
sense to his audience. Wealthy merchants and businessmen often had
to travel abroad and leave the business to others to handle while
they were gone.
Why did Jesus tell this story and what can it teach us? Most
importantly it tells us something about how God deals with us, his
disciples and servants. The parable speaks first of the Master's
trust in his servants. While he goes away he leaves them with his
money to use as they think best. While there were no strings
attached, this was obviously a test to see if the Master's workers
would be industrious and reliable in their use of the money
entrusted to them. The master rewards those who are industrious
and faithful and he punishes those who sit by idly and who do
nothing with his money.
The essence of the parable seems to lie in the servants' conception of responsibility. Each servant entrusted with the master's money was faithful up to a certain point. The servant who buried the master's money was irresponsible. One can bury seeds in the ground and expect them to become productive because they obey natural laws. Coins, however, do not obey natural laws. They obey economic laws and become productive in circulation. The master expected his servants to be productive in the use of his money.
What do coins and the law of economics have to do with the
kingdom of God? The Lord entrusts the subjects of his kingdom with
gifts and graces and he gives his subjects the freedom to use them
as they think best. With each gift and talent, God gives
sufficient means (grace and wisdom) for using them in a fitting
way. As the parable of the talents shows, God abhors indifference
and an attitude that says it's not worth trying. God honors those
who use their talents and gifts for doing good. Those who are
faithful with even a little are entrusted with more! But those who
neglect or squander what God has entrusted to them will lose what
There is an important lesson here for us. No one can stand still for long in the Christian life. We either get more or we lose what we have. We either advance towards God or we slip back. Do you seek to serve God with the gifts, talents, and graces he has given to you?
"Lord Jesus, be the ruler of my heart and thoughts, be the king of my home and relationships, and be the master of my work and service. Help me to make good use of the gifts, talents, time, and resources you give me for your glory and your kingdom."
Psalm 98:1-3, 8-9
1 O sing to the LORD a new song, for he
has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm
have gotten him victory.
2 The LORD has made known his victory, he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.
3 He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God!
8 Let the floods clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together
9 before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.
Daily Quote from the early church fathers: Eternal Joys, by Gregory the Great (540-604 AD)
"All the good deeds of our present life, however many they may
appear to be, are few in comparison with our eternal recompense.
The faithful servant is put in charge of many things after
overcoming all the troubles brought him by perishable things. He
glories in the eternal joys of his heavenly dwelling. He is
brought completely into the joy of his master when he is taken
into his eternal home and joined to the company of angels. His
inner joy at his gift is such that there is no longer any external
perishable thing that can cause him sorrow." (excerpt from FORTY GOSPEL HOMILIES 9.2)
Scripture quotations from Common Bible:
Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright
1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised Standard
Version of the Bible, copyright 2006, by the
Division of Christian Education of the National
Council of the Churches of Christ in the United
States of America. Used by permission. All rights
reserved. Citation references for quotes from
the writings of the early church fathers can be
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