Avoiding loss… and losing anyway…

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Matthew 25:14 “For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; 15 to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. 17 In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. 18 But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. 20 Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. 29 For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 30 As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 

(I don’t often do this, but I’m going to share a note I wrote about this passage two years ago – in the early days of the Covid shut-down. It spoke to me this morning. I hope it speaks to you…)

Given this is one in a series of stories speaking of the need for believers to be ready for Jesus at any moment, we might understand the talents of this story to represent time. There is the time in between Jesus’ resurrection and his return. The first two servants used the gift given to them to make more. One did not.

According to New Bible Commentary “Hoping to avoid doing anything wrong, he finished up by not doing anything right.”

I suppose the first two servants were active in the waiting, taking the gift of salvation, of the Kingdom of God, of new life in Christ and sharing it with others to multiply these things – creating new disciples. We might also understand this abundance to apply to things like time and money.

Then there’s the one who functions out of scarcity and fear which ultimately leads to his condemnation. He makes no attempt to share or multiply what he’s been given. In avoiding the risk of loss, he loses anyway. This reminds me of Jesus saying “those who seek to save their life will lose it”. In being willing to lose my life I actually find life.

What does it look like for us today to give what we have and multiply it? Perhaps it’s giving away toilet paper rather than hoarding it. It means sharing a mindset of faith rather than fear. It means sharing the money we have via organizations serving those in need rather than conserving cash. It means focusing on how I can serve others rather than wringing my hands in fear of my own security.

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