Everything you wanted to know about Christianity
at the Anglican Parish of the Otways
Please join me each week for our reflections
of sermons conducted during our church service.
Plus, occasional splashes of humour and epiphanies!
With much Love and Blessings
Rev. Jenny Brandon
THE parable of the talents is among the most abused texts in the New Testament.
Contrary to what might be modelled by some best-selling evangelists, the parable does not justify a gospel of economic prosperity.
“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants[c] and entrusted to them his property. (Matthew:25:14)
Instead, it challenges believers to emulate their Master
by using all that God has given them
for the sake of the kingdom.
Like the parable of the ten maidens before it,
the parable of the talents portrays the kingdom of God (Matthew:25:14).
and illustrates how the disciples are to wait
until the Lord comes.
The kingdom of God is likened to a master that goes on a journey
and leaves his servants in charge of his possessions.
Although the first receives five times as much as the last,
each receives a significant sum of money.
A talent would be roughly equivalent to 20 years wages
for the average worker.
Five talents is comparable to one hundred years
worth of labour,
An astronomical amount of money.
Like the preceding two parables (Matthew 24:45-51; 25:1-13),
the return of the master is certain,
but the timing is unknown.
After a long absence, he discovers what each
servant has done with his property.
The first two slaves do business with the master's talents
and double his money.
Although the first slave earned more than the second,
each has done remarkably well with what he has been given.
They have performed according to their potential,
and they have been faithful in doing
what the master has required of them.
The master commends the slaves for being good and faithful,
entrusts them with more authority,
and invites them to enter his "joy."
The third servant is not so fortunate.
The third slave admits that he was afraid
to lose the master's money.
To protect himself, he buried the talent in the ground.
The master is furious.
He had entrusted this servant with a portion of his property
in order that the slave would use his abilities –
abilities that had helped the master in the past –
in order to turn a profit for his lord.
Instead, he attempted to secure his own well-being.
And his unfaithfulness
cost him severely (Matthew:25:30).
In its literary setting, Jesus tells this story to his disciples (24:3)
to prepare them for the days ahead
when their faith will be tested.
This parable depicts how the disciples are to demonstrate
their faithfulness as they anticipate the return of the Lord.
What does faithfulness look like in a time of waiting?
In Matthew's Gospel faithfulness is emulating
the ministry of Jesus.
Jesus has announced the arrival of God's kingdom
by feeding the hungry,
curing the sick,
restoring the outcast,
and serving the marginalised.
And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew:24:14)
ALL who would follow Jesus are to preach the good news
of the kingdom in their situation, (Matthew:24:14)
going about the work that the master has called them to do.
Far too many Christians today see their salvation
as simply a “bus ticket to heaven”.
They believe it doesn’t matter what they do
while they “wait for the bus.”
This parable spells out that this is absolutely untrue.
The question for us is,
how are we emulating our Master
by using all that God has given us
for the sake of the kingdom?
The master has left each one of us exactly
what we need to do what he wants us to do.
The Master is returning.
Are you ready?
Will you hear the Master tell you,
"Well done, good and faithful servant."
If not, it’s never too late to change.
The Lord Be with You!
About the author
Rev. Jenny is an ordained Priest of the Anglican Diocese delivering services at Anglican Parish of the Otway churches every week.
With great depth of knowledge and a spiritual practice that shows she walks her talk and has taken her to the far reaches of N.T. Australia working with indigenous youth and elders.