Read Matthew 25:14-30. What stood out to you in this reading of the text?
I think another part of this is being the type of person who recognizes talent and ability in another and provides what they need to grow it, whether it be monetary gifts, encouragement, mentoring, etc. The translation I used said that the employer invited the servants who developed their talents to be in "partnership" with him. What an exciting opportunity. No longer a servant-master relationship, but a relationship with equal footing - partners! And we too have the opportunity to be a partner with God if we only respond to the challenge and take the risk!
Oh, Gina, I can hear your voice as I read your comments. You are so positive and upbeat about how this parable can inspire us to fulfill our potential.
I guess I'm a fan of my comfort zone, but I am grateful that God will meet me where I am so that I can grow in the partnership you mention.
Thank you for the encouragement, Gina! What a gift that is!
I kind of took it a little differently. To me, it was talking about the gifts (talents) we are given as part of who we are. Certainly, we all have different gifts and it is up to us to use these and develop these to the maximum potential we can. Fear of what others might think sometimes drives us to hide our talent. Sometimes it is just laziness and we use fear of other people's opinions as an excuse. But when we step out of our comfort zone, take the risk, and do our best, we can be greatly rewarded in so many ways.
In this section of Matthew, Jesus is giving a vivid description of "the end of the age". Some people will be prepared for this kingdom of heaven, but those who are not are in for a world of hurt. It's a bit frightening, especially for devotions titled "More faith, less fear". I am guessing it is meant to be a frighteningly serious description of what will happen to the "worthless slaves" when the Son of Man comes to bless and to curse. I, too, struggle to find a clear life application in this story.
However, just a bit further along in Matthew, there is the blessing of those who served the least of these. Here, I found a better understanding of eternal punishment versus eternal life. In fact, the words "I was in prison and you visited me" encouraged me to put aside fear in the past to teach in corrections and volunteer in a program of restorative justice.
Today's reading was certainly thought-provoking. And here we are, overcoming fear to struggle with scripture and participate in this forum.
Thank you for those insights, Amy. You are brave.
It is also validating for me to read that you, too, struggle with application of this parable. Thank you for that.
I confess that I did feel a bit "risky" in posting my honest feelings for this entry!
I’ll be honest–I don’t like this parable. Sorry, Jesus, but I feel rather personally berated, and I don’t understand why I’m wrong.
I get it that it makes sense for people who are good with investments (or anything of value–people, time, variable X) to be in charge of more X. That goes for the first two servants. But, I relate to the third servant, the careful, cautious one. I hate taking risks. God gave me logic and the ability to reason and make sensible decisions so that I could avoid risky situations. What’s wrong with that?
Why must faith include taking risks unless they are on behalf of Christ or humankind? This story isn’t talking about taking risks on behalf of our beliefs or to better our world. Why is the servant who is cautious and plays it safe with the master’s goods condemned to “the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 25:30b)? Isn’t that too severe? Why not just put that servant in charge of something else that would better suit his abilities?
What is Jesus trying to teach me/us in this parable?
I do embrace the concept of faith over fear. But, whenever I think of my faith conquering fear, I think of situations over which I have little to no control. Otherwise, when I do have some influence to change the situation, shouldn’t I do what I can to diminish the problem that is causing people to fear? That kind of risk makes sense to me, but risks to protect others is not what the parable was about.
The devotional author touches on the one interpretation that allows me to maintain some dignity. I’m not afraid of God, my “master,” being harsh like the third servant was afraid of his master. Is it his intention of avoiding punishment that makes him guilty of being “wicked . . . lazy . . . worthless,” as the master in the parable says? The devotional acknowledges that we are often afraid of disappointing others or having them think less of us. Those are “fears” that we should not allow to control our decisions. I’m in total agreement with that.
I’m still not looking to take risks, though. I’m still wearing a seat belt, still not eating foods after the expiration date, still trying to follow all the rules, still not understanding what’s wrong with being cautious, still wondering what Jesus wants me to learn from this parable.