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Posted by Comments:
rev smith, Lacey IA
November 14, 2017
More harsh words from Matthew's Gospel.
I wonder how many would be willing to touch on
verse 26 as it relates to those who are only pew

Posted by Comments:
Indy CLP
November 15, 2017
Pretty sad that the master was willing to trust
the slave with his money but the slave had no
trust for the master. I think it comes down to our
image of God, whether we view God as forgiving or
as vengeful.

Posted by Comments:
Rick in Canada, eh?
November 15, 2017
Hi all.

Agreed, rev. s, Matthew does have some pretty
strong words, and sometimes it's hard to hear good
news in them.

(Parenthetically, may I just say at this point
that I'm looking forward to Mark? 'Cause I am!)

And while I understand where you are coming from,
Indy, I also think that there are plenty of folks
who do more than pew sit who can fall into the
category of "lazy" or "do
nothing" or, especially, "afraid"
(vs. 25).

We all work with folks who don't want change, or
who are obsessed with the building, or who
complain that things aren't like they used to be
in the good old days when the Sunday School was
huge and we had two services and multiple staff

So, with that in the background, a couple thoughts
about this text.

1 - The first two slaves are commended, not for
their "success," but for doing what
their master does. It's the master's
"job" to invest the money, to look for
opportunities to invest, to jump when a chance
arises. These slaves did that. They didn't wait
for permission; they didn't wait for the master to
come back and make the decision. Bottom line, they
didn't play it safe; they jumped in.

2 - In my context, there is a church in town which
is known for being the "rich church." I
know, from talking with the clergy of that church,
that they are facing as many difficulties as the
rest of us; but the story the other churches are
telling themselves is that "St. John's has
all the money, so they can do things. We don't
have any money, so we can't do anything except
live day to day."

I'm sure you can see where this is going. This
parable can be told in such a way that the slave
who was given one talent compared himself to the
others, and told himself, "I don't have
anywhere near as much as them, so I can't do
anything like what they can do."

3 - Time for the obvious reminder that a Talent
was a huge sum of money, approximately 20 years
worth of income for a standard worker.

So, if your boss gave you a cheque for a million
dollars, would you ask yourself, "What's the
catch?" Or "How come I only got ONE
million, when that person got TWO million, and
that one over there got FIVE million?"

Or would you say, "Wow! Imagine what I can
do, now that I have all this money?"

Perhaps it's time to stop imagining, and start

Posted by Comments:
Rick again
November 15, 2017
Oops. I mis-attributed the comments to which I
was responding. Sorry about that!

Posted by Comments:
rev smith, Lacey IA
November 15, 2017
Thanks for your comments.
I'm working out yet where to go with this week's
text as well as preparing for an eccumenical
thanksgiving service Sunday evening. I'm the new
guy in the community so i was volunteered to share
the message.
Your comments have given me food for thought on
Sunday mornings message. I serve three small
churches who have so much to offer yet often
proclaim they have little or nothing compared to
the big churches near them.

Posted by Comments:
Rick again
November 15, 2017
It's a common problem, especially when so much of
the church (in our part of the word, anyway) has
bought into the "bigger is always
better" model, demonstrated in mega-churches
and the prosperity gospel.

Size of the congregation (or its bank account) is
not the problem. Jesus' followers numbered a grand
total of 11 when he gave them the Great Commission
(at least in Matthew's version), and they had just
experienced one of their charter members
committing suicide!

Posted by Comments:
David in IN
November 15, 2017
Here's a question that occurred to me that I had
never considered when looking at this passage: A
talent is A LOT of money. Would it have been
normal in that culture for a servant to have been
entrusted with even one talent, let alone 2 or 5?
Could a point be made here that, regardless of how
much the Lord has entrusted us with, it is far
more than we deserve? Or am I barking up the wrong
tree here?

Posted by Comments:
Rick again
November 15, 2017
Hi David.

I can't answer with certainty about financial
practices, but I think your point is well taken
and perfectly permissible.

I'm guessing that most servants/slaves would not
be given access to such funds. But that wouldn't
be surprising, because almost no one (except for
emperors and such) would have that kind of cash

Which, as I write this, might be an interesting

Posted by Comments:
Deke in TX
November 16, 2017
I'm looking at this as NOT a Kingdom Parable. It
is directed at the disciples alone and is just
prior to Jesus' way of the cross. Also there I get
a sense of eschatological feeling.

So if not a "The Kingdom of Heaven is
like:" parable who is the master and which of
the 3 is righteous?

The word talent does not mean the ability to do
something special to the disciples. It is a unit
of weight and in this case of a huge amount of

The economic sense of the time was that wealth was
fixed- it could not be grown. For someone to
accumulate the great wealth of 9 talents of gold
would mean the impoverishment of many. That was
compounded by the 1st and 2nd servants who doubled
the talents to 16.

The 3rd servant put the master's talent in the
ground, which was thought to be the safest place
for treasure in those days. The master was not
content with receiving the talent back. He
demanded why the servant did not lend the money at
usury, that is for interest. This is condemned by
the Jews.

So we have the master accumulating vast wealth
causing harm to others, demanding his servant
resort to usury and then meting out punishment for
the 3rd servant who did the righteous thing.

We have to remember that capitalism was not really
a thing until the 19th century. To get at the
meat of this parable we need to take off our 21st
century glasses.

So what was Jesus trying to teach His closest

Barbara E. Reid in her "Year A: Parables for
Preachers"explores several aspects of this
parable and how it might be preached.

"...the parable challenges presuppositions of
a capitalistic mentality which promotes
ever-increasing production and consumption. The
concept of limited good from the world of Jesus
could help move the preaching in the direction of
the disconnectedness of all life of the cosmos and
the questions of sustainability and the
consumption of resources that face us today. The
parable can be an entree to speak about what
Christian response is called for in the light of
such global realities today of rich people and
rich nations becoming increasingly more wealthy
from the investments of international corporations
that make huge profits from exploited and
underpaid workers in sweatshops. The parable can
pose a challenge to believers to wary of greed in
all its forms.

Approaching the parable from its eschatological
contest in Matthew the preacher would emphasize as
with the other parables in this last discourse,
the need for readiness for the final moment. The
homilist should be careful, however, to to preach
the parable as simply as an exhortation to use
one's gifts to the full. This misses the
eschatological dimension of the parable which is
essential for its full impact.

The element of active discipleship which entails
risky choices is one that the preacher might
pursue. Discipleship is not a comfortable holding
on to tradition Rather, it is an active endeavor
that involves great investment on the part of the
Christian. What has been received must be acted
upon, passed on to others, increasing the yield,
as it were."

"A preacher should also recognize a
problematic aspect of the imagery in the parable.
Portraying Jesus as a master and disciples as
slaves using a metaphor that was familiar in the
everyday life of ancient Palestine and the
Greco-Roman world. While it serves to emphasize
the power of Jesus and of God, it can be dangerous
when used as a vehicle to reinscribe human
hierarchies and to justify domination and
exploitation of others. Moreover, it can counter
the very message of the parable by encouraging
servile fear rather than bold and faithful

Pace e Bene

Posted by Comments:
Rick again
November 16, 2017
Thanks for this, Deke. This opens all kinds of
possible avenues for exploration.

There is always more going on in these stories,
and it's very helpful to have some of this

I've got a meeting to go to, but I will definitely
return to reflect on your contribution!


Posted by Comments:
Sam Platts
November 16, 2017
I guess we have all been given talents and some
people use them and some don't. Some are not
afraid and some are. Or maybe they all are. The
master is tough as hell and has some expectations
of his servants. Is the master God and we are the
servants of whom great things are expected from
the vast talents (worth so so much!) that he has
given us? Is it about doing something for the
kingdom of God here on Earth. "Your will be
done on earth as it is in heaven" and the
master (Our Lord) is coming back after a long time
and he has expectations of his servants (us).
What if the servants who doubled the Master's
money had lost it all? What then? I think the
guy who stuck it in the ground was a genuine
conservative, who can blame him? But boy is he
going to hell! This should be a motivation to
everybody in the church to get busy for the
Kingdom that is coming. To me it says we ought to
get busy with bail reform in the U.S. so that
450,000 people are not sitting in prison solely
because they are too poor to make bail for minor
offenses. Rick, I am told that only the U.S. and
the Philippines have a bail system. Canada does
not? And a thousand other social issues that
need to be addressed, like universal health care
ala Canada. After all, Jesus came to set the
prisoners free, and to heal the sick, etc. We
would be using the talents God has given us to
multiply the benefits of the work of Jesus, the
Christ of God.

Posted by Comments:
Deke in TX
November 16, 2017

Posted by Comments:
Deke in TX
November 16, 2017

Posted by Comments:
Deke in TX
November 16, 2017
I guess I am trying to put to much in a post.
Here's the links to "David Ewart," and George Hermanson.

I think you will find both interesting.
Pace e Bene

Posted by Comments:
Rick again, again!
November 16, 2017
Hi all.

Sam, not sure where you got your information, but
many countries have a bail system which allows
charged people to continue with their lives until
trial. They may differ in details, but not in

Deke, I've been chewing on your earlier comments
all day! While driving to my meeting this a.m., I
cracked myself up by thinking that, if you are
right, the master, who is a robber baron and wants
his servants to be robber barons with him, was
essentially saying to the third slave, "So,
you don't want to do the immoral thing? You could
at least do the illegal thing!"

Another thought. My wife and I went to Italy for
our holidays this summer, and learned (I hadn't
heard it before) that Jewish slaves, brought back
to Rome after the unsuccessful rebellion of 68-70,
were the ones who built the Colosseum. They then
built the Arch of Titus nearby, which celebrates
the victory of Rome over the Jews (and was a
pretty nasty yet effective way of rubbing their
noses in it).

I can see Matthew's original audience relating (at
a gut level) to slaves of foreign masters, who
couldn't give a ripped fig for the religious
traditions, let alone the financial laws, of their
newly acquired Jewish slaves.

I don't think it takes too much imagination to
conjure up the potential results of a slave who
refuses to work for his or her new master.

Posted by Comments:
Deke in TX
November 17, 2017
Rick, I have to use your brain storm, please.
"the master, who is a robber baron and wants
his servants to be robber barons with him, was
essentially saying to the third slave, "So,
you don't want to do the immoral thing? You could
at least do the illegal thing!"
Pace e Bene

Posted by Comments:
Rick again
November 17, 2017
Thanks Deke. Feel free.

Might as well, since I will be referring to your
comments, too!

Posted by Comments:
steve souther
November 17, 2017
Hey Friends,

I assume this parable was part of the teaching
Jesus gave his disciples, not the crowds. It was
to these followers of his that Jesus was preparing
to hand over his fortune --people he claimed as
his own, yes, even the world. The ones he preached
good news to, and delivered from sickness and
oppression, and fed and provided a shepherd.

Jesus used the unjust judge in a similar manner
as he presents this "robber barren,' I Think.
The disciples would most probably get the point
that they would be carrying on the ministry (the
investment) in the same manner as Jesus did. Jesus
certainly risked a lot, especially when he touched
the unclean, or ate with sinners. And they too
must risk in the same way, not hide from it.
Being safe is the exact opposite from what Jesus
is telling his disciple --risk it all.

This was all worth it, because of his treasure
(where your heart is, there is your treasure). He
saw the bigger picture, too, where the people he
was handing over of his treasure to would bring
(deliverance) changes to the entire world. This
was the greatest risk of all time! The amazing
thing is, given the impossibility of the task, he
didn't give them (to do) anything over their

This leads us into Christ the King Sunday when
Matthew presents the final judgment --"When
you have done it unto the least of these my
brethren you have done it unto me."

This is why I am going in this direction. Also,
the parable brings up the point that the slaves
(employees) knew their master. This makes all the
difference. It is Jesus whom the disciples are
looking at, seeing through all the layers of the
story and bringing to focus precisely what he
My take.

Posted by Comments:
rev smithh, Lacey IA
November 18, 2017
If the master in the parable is Jesus I assume
that the talent he leaves with the servants or
disciples is salvation. Each is given a measure of
sharing the gospel according to their ability.
On that day when we are called to accounts what
accounting will we give?
I shared the good news of your salvation for me
and another was saved or I received the good news
and kept it for myself. To be fair if I risk
sharing it with others I might not be able to
convince them and my own faith might be shaken.
What a precious gift it is and how can I possibly
risk loosing even a small part of it. I will keep
my faith shielded from the world so that it will
never be lost or stolen away. See Lord I have the
full measure of salvation and faith you first gave

Just some rambling thoughts

Posted by Comments:
steve souther
November 18, 2017
Indy CLP: "...I think it comes down to our
image of God, whether we view God as forgiving or
as vengeful."

I go back to these words because they point to
what I think is essential for any interpretation
of Scripture. The 'outer darkness' is where we put
ourselves, not where God sends us. "Wither
shall I go from Thy Spirit? If I say, let only
darkness cover me...for darkness as of light to
thee." Ps. 139:7, 13. The Psalmist knew.

The good news that breaks forth for me this
Saturday morning, when the load seems especially
heavy, is the part about not giving the slaves
more than their Ability. To think that all we have
been given to do in ministry --as impossible as it
seems sometimes--is completely within our ability.
That brings up the issue: we tend to take on too
much; we don't hide the talent, but rather dig up
more than we can handle!

I'm going to try and not hand out to the
people more than they can handle. When I
overburden myself, the tendency is to transfer it
on to others. Let's be careful, then, about the
talents--of ours and of those around us. Some have
more and some have less; it only matters what we
do with what we've been given.

Jesus says, "Come unto me all yea who are
weary and heavy laden and I will give you

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Frank Schaefer for, 2005

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