Jesus tells a parable about three people entrusted with bags of gold. Two multiply their money. One had the wrong view.
Do you view God as a cruel taskmaster or as the One who provides for you, gifts you, and empowers you?
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Matthew 25 Notes:
In one of his last messages before he gave up his life, Jesus shared 3 parables to help those wanting to follow him know more about our priorities.
We should be ready and expecting His return to make things right and to bring Justice along with a new heaven and new earth.
We should be faithful with what we’ve been given.
The second parable used to be called “the parable of the talents” in the version I read growing up. “The parable of the bags of gold” is a better translation, but we miss out on an accidental double meaning. Talents were a type of currency, but for us it is what makes us unique. I love the idea of being faithful with what we’ve been given including what we are good at.
I love how this parable reframes how we view God.
Let me say first, we don’t have a good understanding of the word master. We think of the brutality of slavery in the United States in the 1850s or Master Yoda or Lord Vader from Star Wars. Slavery was very different in the ancient Roman world. Many were enslaved after losing a battle in war or for not having enough money to pay off debts. Historians think that 80% of the ancient Roman world were enslaved. It’s how business was done. It’s how you had a place to live, and how you got food for your family.
Back to the parable: The one with 5 bags of gold and the one with 2 bags of gold both invested their money and heard the same thing from their master:
“‘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!’” (Matthew 25:21)
“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. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground.” (Matthew 25:24-25)
The master was furious and called him wicked and lazy! I understand lazy, but why wicked? Most of the time we associate wickedness with doing something evil. We rarely consider wickedness as not doing something good. The servant viewed his master as cruel when that wasn’t his heart at all.
How do you view God – as a cruel taskmaster or as the One who provides for you, gifts you, and empowers you?
How can you be faithful with what you’ve been given (your time, talents, and treasure) and invest in expanding the Kingdom?