14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag,[a] each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’
21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
22 “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’
23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
28 “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
Dear God, I’ll admit that I’ve never liked this one. I’m good with the people who got paid the same for different amounts of work. I’m okay with the virgins who got locked out because they didn’t prepare to bring enough olive oil for their lamps. But this poor fellow who started out with low ability and then didn’t want to disappoint you by losing what he was given…I don’t know. I feel bad for him.
But even as I typed that I started to wonder (and I know this isn’t a real guy, but a parable), what did he do with his time after he buried his one talent? Did he work? Did he just sit around and talk to people? I would say that Jesus’s intimation here is that he was lazy wicked (verse 26). He did nothing with his time. So what am I doing with the time you’ve given to me? What am I doing with the ability you’ve given to me? The resources? The blessing?
Father, I saw a pastor ask on Facebook earlier today, “Does anyone think it is wrong to seek power for the sake of power?” I have never seen in any of these passage from Jesus about the kingdom of heaven the idea of accumulating power. The kingdom of heaven is described as a treasure that is worth everything I am to attain. He describes it as something that starts at a grassroots and then the power of it grows organically and attracts others to it. And he talks about the responsibilities the kingdom’s citizens have to love, forgive, work, and be ready, by loving you and loving others. Assuming I am one who has already given all that I am (as best as I know how) to you, help me to be someone who contributes to the growth of your kingdom through the organic nature of love and service, and to always be ready by doing what I can with what you are.
In Jesus’s name I pray,