Matthew 25: 14–30
Jesus spoke this parable to his disciples.
“The Kingdom of heaven is like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. Then he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master’s investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master’s money.
“After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them. The one given five thousand dollars showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’
“The servant with the two thousand showed how he also had doubled his master’s investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’
“The servant given one thousand said, ‘Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.’
“The master was furious. ‘That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest.
“‘Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this “play-it-safe” who won’t go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.’
The Kingdom of Heaven is like…. How many times have we heard that phrase with Matthew as Jesus attempts to explain what life in God is all about. This time the Kingdom is ‘like a man’. This is the part of the reading we often read over.
We ‘human’s have many sides to our personality and character and we give each part a sense of importance – some more than others. But our expectations are high. We want to be successful so we work at using our skills to the best of our ability. The danger is that we leave our caring ‘skills’, empathy, compassion and love to the last. We don’t practice using them, we don’t invest time in developing them, we are afraid to be hurt by them.
The punishment that Matthew talks about is self-inflicted. Only by ‘spending’ our weakness and need of God’s love can we ever hope to share in the greater gift of God’s grace.