October 25, 2021

Matthew 25:14-15
Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 

This week we’re looking at a familiar parable Jesus told. In these two short verses, setting the scene for the parable, a lot is assumed. If we’re not careful, skimming over these assumptions can set us up to misinterpret or ignore the lessons coming later. So today, we’ll lay out as many assumptions as we can find, and take time to reflect on what they might mean for us.
Assumption #1: God is the master. Frankly, this isn’t the case for all of us. We might consider God a friend, a guide, a provider, or force. But if you and I don’t see him as our master, it doesn’t make sense to keep reading this parable. This, and the second assumption, have much in common.
Assumption #2: We are servants. You and I might be uncomfortable with the master/servant dynamic Jesus uses to illustrate his point. We might happily be volunteers, soldiers, co-laborers or friends, but being a servant requires a wholly different framework. A servant does not get to dictate many of their plans or desires. A master has the right to make uncomfortable and confusing decisions that the servants must obey. 
If you are unwilling to accept this primary framework, let me encourage you to stop here for the day. Take some time to reflect on where your understanding of God comes from and ask Him to show you parts of Himself that you don’t yet see.
Assumption #3: What we have is God’s, not ours. Here’s why the initial two assumptions are so critical. The master gives his gold to the servants. It’s not theirs to keep, nor use for their own ends. Do you look around at what you have and see it as God’s? Are you the owner of your wealth, or merely a steward? For many of us, we’re willing to say part of what we have is God’s, but part is a result of our own effort, drive, and skill. Jesus is saying that all we have is God’s and will go back to Him upon His return. If you struggle believing that to be true, spend some time here instead of reading on.
Assumption #4: We have been given unimaginable wealth and resources. Jesus is talking about multiple bags of gold in this parable. As the servants in this story, Jesus is telling us we have incredible assets at our disposal. This is where I stop in the list. I don’t feel wealthy. I don’t feel well resourced. So here’s where I wrestle with believing the point of this parable could be true for me. How about you? The super spiritual among us can read on!
Assumption #5: We have been given in accordance with our ability. Okay, now we’re getting into the deep end of the theological pool. I’ve had seasons of extreme poverty in my life—eating out of church food pantries and counting every penny in my checkbook. Was I not worthy of a well paying job? If this assumption makes you uncomfortable, as it does me, consider for a moment the resources you have that aren’t financial; relationships, ideas, gifts, and passions. You have been given those things as well, and Jesus is saying they are given to those who have the ability to use them.
I’m sure there is more we could chew on in these few verses, but before we move on this week, reflect on the places where the framework of this story is hard for you to accept. Let God show you where He wants you to see, grow, and believe in ways you haven’t yet.
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