by Kathy Matuschka
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Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them (Matthew 25:14).
Read Matthew 25: 14–30
It seems strange that God would use money (before we came to use the term ‘talent’ to mean a thing we’re good at, it was a Roman unit of currency) to help us understand the kingdom of heaven. Money is more commonly associated with earthly realities, like power and opportunity for gain at another’s expense. Furthermore, how can God require us to produce a certain return on heavenly investments when we know that our salvation is only through God’s grace? That sounds like works righteousness.
Is the man who goes on a journey in today’s parable supposed to be Jesus? It seems that the man is setting up the third servant for failure by giving him only one talent when the others receive five and two, respectively. That doesn’t sound like Jesus, but this I know to be true: each of us has times when we imagine God to be that unfair and loves others more than he loves us or even sets us up for failure.
As we compare ourselves with those around us, do we identify with one of these servants? If so, do we forever see ourselves as that same servant? Or can you see yourself in any of the three servant roles in the story?
I can be any of those servants on any given day. Not only that but sometimes, when I think I am being extremely faithful to Jesus, my master, I find that I have, in fact, been hurting myself and others. At other times, when I feel without hope or direction, I later discover that my frailty has touched someone else’s soul. That’s God’s economy for you!
Today’s story, like any parable, raises a lot of questions. However, the money analogy does help remind us that something precious has been entrusted to us while we wait for Jesus to return and that we are called to do something with it.
The man in the parable who received ‘just one talent’ received the equivalent of 15 to 20 years’ salary for an average worker. That’s a lot! That’s how generous Jesus is, and he invites us to participate in his abundance.
But we go on our way knowing that, unlike the servants in the story, we have the freedom won by Jesus and God’s Spirit going ahead of us to multiply our heavenly treasures.
Dear Jesus, thank you for inviting me to join you in your kingdom work. May your amazing generosity be evident in my life and flow to all I meet. Amen.
Kathy Matuschka serves within the LCA Queensland District as Assistant Director for Mission. Kathy and her husband Mark have three wonderful adult children, one lovely son-in-law and another officially joining the family next month.