Twenty-Fifth Sunday After Pentecost
Kenneth C. Kroohs
Zephaniah 1:7, 12-18; Psalm 90:1-8, 12; I Thessalonians 5:1-10; Matthew 25:14- 29
One of the best features of the parables is that they can teach so much in so few words. They can be understood in many different ways and usually, at least one of those ways hits us directly. Unfortunately when we know the parable as well as we know this one, we tend not to ''hear'' it very clearly. We already know all that it has to tell us so why listen again?
We've probably all heard how the ''talent'' in the story is a large sum of money. It was the highest denomination within the Roman empire. In today's lingo, we might say that the man gave one slave a million dollars, another two million dollars and the third slave five million dollars. A large sum of money! A big responsibility.
Jesus' parables always seem to have an element of the absurd once we really listen to them. After all, what person would give a slave so much money? The man is being extremely generous and trusting. Logically, this is an absurd story.
Most of us though, don't think about this parable in terms of money. Most of us think about it using the word ''talent'' in its more common usage - an ability, something for which we have an aptitude or flair. In religious lingo we would say a gift.
Interestingly many scholars believe that this use of the word ''talent'' comes from the middle ages when sermons were preached focusing on how we need to use our gifts, our abilities. Through that preaching theme the word ''talent'' became understood in that way.
So it is worth trying to determine what Jesus meant. The disciples had asked Jesus to tell them when the reign of God would begin. Jesus told them they did not need to know. Jesus then went on to tell them what the kingdom of God .. the reign of God would be like. This parable is included in that series., Why?, On the surface it does not appear to be connected. But I think it is. I think, Jesus ...
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