Proper 28a – Sunday 13th November 2011
Matthew 25: 14-30
One thing I keep coming across as I prepare my blog for this week is the sheer scale of the financial burden placed on the three servants in the Parable of the Talents. In fact, if you read this passage in the New Century Version you are told that Number 1 servant gets five bags of gold. Mind boggling stuff.
Some commentators point out that Talent actually refers to a talanton – which was a gold nugget that weighed in at around 70lbs and was worth 6,000 denarii. Staggering.
We’ve heard about the unlikely exploits of Samaritans, fathers who give inheritances to profligate sons, mustard trees that make homes for flocks of birds, but this parable must have been the most outlandish of them all.
The people listening to the telling of this tale must hardly have been able to comprehend the amounts involved – and to have been unable to put themselves in the shoes of those who had to look after such sums.
It reminds me of the financial crisis that is currently engulfing the world. The turmoil in Greece has been temporarily placated by a €450 billion injection to the Eurozone economy.
€450bn. I have to keep saying that to myself. €450bn. What’s it even look like? What could it buy? Where does it go? Who’s got hold of it at the moment? I cannot comprehend these figures at all.
And what if that was exactly the point that Jesus was making. What if this parable was not about ability, but inability. We’ve always concentrate on the successful duo in this parable, but perhaps we should be more concerned about the life of the one who buried his talent.
Have you ever thought that God gives us his good news message not so that our talents can be paraded before the world, but so our failings can be exposed – therefore giving God all the glory, rather than the short measures we tend to give him.
God is a richly merciful God. He is a compassionate God. And we get more than we deserve from the riches of his grace. Despite the error of ways we keep on coming up smelling of roses. It’s baffling, isn’t it?