Scripture: Matthew 25:14-30
Sermon theme: While the master's away ...
I got bogged down this week trying to figure out what the "talents" are that the master entrusts to the servants in this parable.
Are they skills and abilities that God wants us not to hide, but use to good purpose? Is it time we are given, to make the world a better place? Is it literally treasure -- the money, property and assets we are blessed with, that we are to use faith-fully? Or is it other stuff yet -- relationships in which we are to grow the kingdom, Earth that we are to serve and nurture as God's garden, life that we are to make possible for others?
The answer, of course, is the famous "all of the above."
So then I begin to see a few other things in the parable.
One is the risk the master takes in entrusting the current assets and the future health of the estate to the servants. Will they take good care of it? Do they know what they are doing? What will be left of the estate when the master returns?
Another is that the master expects things to happen while he is gone. As far as the master is concerned, the worst thing is that the servants play it safe and focus just on survival.
Which leads to a third thought. Jesus identifies two servants whose ventures are wildly successful and are rewarded for it, and a third whose timidity leads to total inaction and who is excluded because of it. But what would the master's response be to someone -- maybe a fourth servant, who like the first two tries to do something with what he was given, but whose venture fails or loses money?
What do you think the master's response would be?
Afterthought: This week I happened to come across this thought from William James:
Suppose that the world's author put the case to you before creation, saying: "I am going to make a world not certain to be saved, a world the perfection of which shall be conditional merely, the condition being that each several agent does its own 'level best.' I offer you the chance of taking part in such a world. Its safety, you see, is unwarranted. It is a real adventure, with real danger, yet it may win through. It is a social scheme of co-operative work, genuinely to be done. Will you join the procession? Will you trust yourself and trust the other agents enough to face the risk?