“As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Matthew 25:30 (NRSV)
Wow! The master of the household went away, giving huge sums of money for his “slaves” or servants to manage, and the first two did quite well! They invested their money and did a good job for the master. The third servant, however, didn’t fare so well! He buried his because he was afraid that – what – he might lose it? He might spend it? He might have it stolen? We don’t know.
What we do know from this parable is that he was punished for not investing it and making more for his master. He didn’t do his job, didn’t manage the money well.
So often, we hear this parable as comparing Jesus to the master; but, you know what? I don’t think I could ever view Jesus as that kind of master. The guy in the parable is domineering, demanding, harsh, and cruel. The third servant was right, he was a “harsh man, reaping where he did not sow, and gathering where he did not scatter seed.” (verse 24) Does that sound like Jesus? Not to me.
So what do we take away from this parable? Do we read into it that God will punish us if we don’t produce? Do we think that money management and making more money is vitally important in our lives? (Come to think of it, that IS what the world tells us!)
One thing we might take away is that we are called to use the gifts/money/talents/possessions/relationships that we have been given wisely and productively. We can build up rather than tear down. We can share our gifts and offer blessings to others through them. We can glorify God through the way we use our gifts. It’s really not just about money or being talented as much as it is about being good stewards – caretakers of what God has given us.
When we abuse, misuse, don’t use/share, or hide what we have been given, we fail to care for the gifts we have been given. God isn’t going to strike us down if we don’t (unlike the master), but we are all accountable for how we lived our faith in the world.
Perhaps the questions are:
How do we share what we have to make the world a better place?
How do we give generously?
How do we care for and act as good stewards of our gifts and blessings?
It’s certainly food for thought!