Final Instructions - Week 3: "The Talents"

Final Instructions—Jesus last teachings to his Disciples

Why are we reading and teaching these texts before Advent?  We are expecting a Gift, but we need to know what the Gift means for us. 

Today, we will hear a parable layered with meaning—one that Jesus meant as a lesson for his followers waiting for the Kingdom.

We’ll also receive a lesson in 1st Century economics—and how being risk-averse isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. 

What’s the biggest risk you have ever taken?  What did you learn? 

The psychology and biology of risk-taking. 

We all take risks every single day.  
    Driving. Flying. Walking alone outside. 

The difference between Impulse Control and Healthy Risk 
    Adrenaline and Dopamine  

Risks I want to avoid: 
    Swimming in the ocean 
    Jumping out of airplanes  
    Hiking in Iraq 
    Drinking Fireball

What does it mean to take risks when it comes to our faith?  

Jesus Take The Wheel is like the most impractical song, right?  Who lets go of the wheel and lets the car go where it may?  People with self-driving cars, right. Well, if you have one of those, do you trust it more than Jesus, and if you let go of the wheel, aren't you essentially asking Jesus to take it?  Questions I ponder. 

Do we really trust God with our lives and our future?  Or do we surrender all the things that are easy to let go of?  


Matthew 25:14-30

This parable continues Jesus’ final instructions about waiting for the Kingdom

The Parable of the Talents

14 “For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; 15 to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. At once 16 the one who had received the five talents went off and traded with them and made five more talents.

Questions about the Lord in this story—traditional and modern interpretation. 

Was Jesus trying to draw a comparison here with himself?  Traditional interpretations. 

Or was he trying to simply tell a story about a powerful man with all the trappings of power? 

17 In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. 18 But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. 

The "heaviness" of talents---there is symbolism here.  The weight of responsibility, expectations? or the kavod of God?  

19 After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. 20 Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.’ 

21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things; I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.’ 

23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things; I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ 

24 Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you did not scatter, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 

26 But his master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I did not scatter? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. 

28 So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. 29 For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance, but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 

30 As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

The "outer darkness" - weeping and gnashing of teeth (persecution) - A hard way to live.  One that most of the poor people of Jesus' audiences would have identified with. 

There's a problem with this story:  "The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer." Those with more get more.  The deeper meaning has nothing to do with money.  

The poor who heard this story would have been flummoxed a bit.  Do you really trust the bankers?  

It doesn't say that the first two made the extra talents by investing with the bankers.  Maybe they spread the wealth around. Maybe they funded a business.  Maybe they lent money for interest, we don't know. 

All we know is they took a risk with the kavod they were given.  They didn't try to hide it, worrying that it would be stolen.  The point of being given talents was to find a way to increase their "heaviness."  

What does it mean to "Risk our Talents" in this Parable?

1. Sharing rather than Hiding our gifts
2. Being willing to risk the sharing of our gifts
3. Realizing that hiding our gifts is not an option 

John Milton: “When I Consider How My Light Is Spent” 

When I consider how my light is spent,
   Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
   And that one Talent which is death to hide
   Lodged with me useless, though my Soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
   My true account, lest he returning chide;
   “Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
   I fondly ask. But patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, “God doth not need
   Either man’s work or his own gifts; who best
   Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is Kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
   And post o’er Land and Ocean without rest:
   They also serve who only stand and wait.”



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