“The parable of the Talents”
Talent is just a Greek word, that the English translators fluffed, by writing it in English letters. Another translation is the master gave his servants 5/2/1 bags of gold. A talent is first a measure of weight – but there is much debate as to how much it is worth. Most say it is worth around 6000 days of wages (that’s 20 years). Our word ‘talent’ meaning special ability, aptitude or skill, came into English via this parable.
- The 3 servants receive bags of gold according to their ability. It would be around $5m / $2m / $1 million today. So even the servant who only receives “1 bag of gold” is still an enormous sum.
- The master is away a long time; then he returns.
- First 2 servants / slaves return to centre stage. They have used their abilities to grow the wealth. Well done!
- What a good story. We like this story.
- But then the third servant comes onto the stage.
- What is your reaction? Surrounded by all these high-performing individuals, the third guy played it safe. He took care of the money. He at least kept it safe. He was anxious. And we get that.
What is our reaction? The Master is a jerk!
Why is he so harsh to this guy who was afraid?
At least he kept the bag of gold safe!
- I need to see the parable in the context of Jesus telling the story. Who is Jesus? A good guy.
- Not one size fits all. Everyone is called to grow & serve.
- The master knows his servants. He is tender + empowering; intuitive.
- He expects something. He wants us to produce fruit.
- Delighted about how the servants have grown & developed.
- This is not about the profit. They keep it! What an amazing boss!
Third servant: “Master I know that you are a hard man” – hard is like a rock. “You harvest where you have not sown.”
That is why I hid your talent in the ground. His story is that the master is a jerk. He believes this story in his head.
Question – how has the master behaved so far? Like this? No.
The Master calls him out. Wicked & lazy. If you were afraid, you could have banked it!
When someone thinks something about us, everything I do will probably confirm it. Whoever has will be given more…
We have two portraits of the Master: generous, joy-filled, loving & caring. The other is he’s a hard-nosed jerk.
Do I have a true vision of who the master is?
He calls us all to follow him into the path and the way that he has prepared for me.
If my image of God / Jesus is askew, then my discipleship will not be fruitful.
Sunday 33, Year A. Matthew 25:14-30.