You might enjoy this podcast episode from ‘Exploring My Strange Bible’ of this passage; from Tim Mackie, one of the guys who started the Bible Project.
Today we ponder a pretty well-known peril of Jesus that has been misused and abused in unfortunate ways when it is read out of context.
This story is about a landowner who gives different sized investments to his servants and then expects them to produce something with the investments. Then based on what they have done with the investment, the landowner rewards or punishes different people.
As you can see, this is one of those stories where if you take it out of context, you can just do terrible things with it.BUT when you locate this parable as a warning or challenge that Jesus gives to the leaders of Jerusalem, all kinds of parts of this parable pop out in new ways.
(from ‘Matthew Marathon’ series)
Here are a few quotes:
He asks “Does Jesus have your attention?”, with this story. The point of parables is to make us engage and think about it.
He says there are some people who would read this story and really go “hang on, who is this master?”.
Tim Makie asks a couple of questions to make us think too
- What do I know to be true of Jesus view of things?
- Does Jesus typically paint rich people in a positive light?
- Does Jesus have any qualms against speaking out against people who abuse their position of authority?
- Does Jesus care about people who have low self esteem or low in society?
The King entrusts his servants with enormous amounts of money (bags of gold)
- does everyone get the same amount of money?
- why is he giving different amounts?
- what does this say about the Master?
there is something about money that says something about us when we have excess
- Does the Master have a hangup with giving people enormous amounts of responsibility? apparently not.
- the third servant does nothing
- how long does this go on for?
the money originally was the Master’s own.
- What happened to the profit made to the two servants that were commended? the Master gave them the profits to keep!
- Did the Master compare the outcome of servant 1 and 2, and say to servant 2; oh you did ok, but not as good as servant 1? no, He commends each individually for their work
- Would we not want to work for this boss?
- the third guy comes up: what were his first words out of his mouth? “Master, I know you are a really hard man”.
- Based on what the Master did to the first two servants, are we supposed to believe this third guy?
- this third guy has a story in his head that bears no resemblance to reality as to the Master’s character.
Well worth a listen; I like the style of teaching in the podcast, it’s very down to earth and approachable. Hope you enjoy it.
Perhaps as a related followup video, I also enjoyed John Lennox’s talk on ‘Wealth and Eternity’, which was also challenging and encouraging.