Our scripture reading for this week is the Parable of the Talents. It’s another parable that may leave us scratching our heads in wonder. The master leaves and entrusts his entire estate to his servants. Two of the servants invest what’s been entrusted to their care and one, afraid of the master, buries what he’s received in the ground until the master returns. While the first two servants are rewarded, the third servant is called worthless (ouch) and thrown into outer darkness where…you guessed it…there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
While the third servant was certainly more cautious, it’s hard to imagine what was so wrong with his course of action. Did he deserve weeping and gnashing of teeth? Really? He didn’t squander what he was given. He just buried it in the ground for safe keeping. And perhaps that’s the crux of this parable. What is it we’ve been given and what is the end result if all we do is keep it safe? I saw this on a friend’s Facebook page:
has two meanings:
Forget Everything And Run
Face Everything And Rise
It made me think of our scripture passage for this week. Because it was the third servant’s fear that drove him to bury his share in the ground. And it’s worth asking…was his fear warranted? From what we know of the master, was the servant’s fear grounded in reality or a projection of his own making? A little of both? Because fear of something, real or perceived, can motivate us in all kinds of different ways.
I hope you’ll join us on Sunday for our livestream worship at 9:00. Please know that all are welcome to join the Wednesday Bible Study that reviews the scripture and sermon topic from the previous Sunday and reflects on the questions that are listed below. If you’re interested in joining us from 11:30 to 12:30 on Wednesdays, please notify the church office or Pastor Lori and we’ll send you the Zoom link. Drop-ins are welcome! Looking forward to being together on Sunday!
“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. 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.
“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. In the same way, the one who had two valuable coins gained two more. But the servant who had received the one valuable coin dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money.
“Now after a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 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.’
“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.’
“The second servant also came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two valuable coins. Look, I’ve gained two more.’
“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.’
“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. So I was afraid. And I hid my valuable coin in the ground. Here, you have what’s yours.’
“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? 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. Therefore, take from him the valuable coin and give it to the one who has ten coins. 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. Now take the worthless servant and throw him out into the farthest darkness.’
“People there will be weeping and grinding their teeth.
Consider these questions:
- What do you make of the third servant’s fear? Was it warranted?
- How does fear show up in your life? How does it impact what you do or don’t do?
- Do you think God takes a risk when entrusting things to our care?
- What is it that’s been entrusted to your care? What have you done with that? What would you like to do with it?