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S (Scripture): Matthew 25:14 Jesus said to his disciples: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who was leaving on a trip. He called his servants and handed his possessions over to them. 15 To one he gave five valuable coins, and to another he gave two, and to another he gave one. He gave to each servant according to that servant’s ability. Then he left on his journey.
16 “After the man left, the servant who had five valuable coins took them and went to work doing business with them. He gained five more. 17 In the same way, the one who had two valuable coins gained two more. 18 But the servant who had received the one valuable coin dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money.
19 “Now after a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The one who had received five valuable coins came forward with five additional coins. He said, ‘Master, you gave me five valuable coins. Look, I’ve gained five more.’
21 “His master replied, ‘Excellent! You are a good and faithful servant! You’ve been faithful over a little. I’ll put you in charge of much. Come, celebrate with me.’
22 “The second servant also came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two valuable coins. Look, I’ve gained two more.’
23 “His master replied, ‘Well done! You are a good and faithful servant. You’ve been faithful over a little. I’ll put you in charge of much. Come, celebrate with me.’
24 “Now the one who had received one valuable coin came and said, ‘Master, I knew that you are a hard man. You harvest grain where you haven’t sown. You gather crops where you haven’t spread seed. 25 So I was afraid. And I hid my valuable coin in the ground. Here, you have what’s yours.’
26 “His master replied, ‘You evil and lazy servant! You knew that I harvest grain where I haven’t sown and that I gather crops where I haven’t spread seed? 27 In that case, you should have turned my money over to the bankers so that when I returned, you could give me what belonged to me with interest. 28 Therefore, take from him the valuable coin and give it to the one who has ten coins. 29 Those who have much will receive more, and they will have more than they need. But as for those who don’t have much, even the little bit they have will be taken away from them. 30 Now take the worthless servant and throw him outside into the darkness.’
“People there will be weeping and grinding their teeth.
O (Observation): Is this about threatening the disciples to use their gifts? Or is something more subversive going on here?
What if Jesus isn’t the owner / man leaving on a trip in this parable, but is the slave who is given 1 talent?
Jesus is being depicted the person in power as a harsh person (like locking out 1/2 of the bridesmaids in the verses just before these) and now, if Jesus is Lord, then he is treating the one with one talent very poorly.
Is this what we are to expect from Jesus?
Or is this interpretation a way for Jesus to be subversive and flip the parable upside-down.
What if the owner was a scoundrel and was unjust? What if this was Jesus’ point: Jesus will NOT rule as the person in power in this parable.
A (Application): So instead of wondering how many gifts we have, perhaps we dwell on the point that Jesus is NOT a harsh judge and will not keep us locked out. Rather, perhaps we dispel the notion that Jesus will rule in these ways. Knowing this, maybe we can be free to serve others fairly and with mercy.
Relationships are important. How we treat folks matters…here and now. Jesus will come again. In the meantime, let us treasure what relationships we haves and seek God to help us to build more bridges.
P (Prayer): Lord, keep us full of mercy and grace. Amen.