Twenty Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
READINGS FOR THIS WEEK
- First reading and Psalm
- Judges 4:1-7
- Psalm 123
- Alternate First reading and Psalm
- Zephaniah 1:7, 12-18
- Psalm 90:1-8, (9-11), 12
- Second reading
- 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
- Matthew 25:14-30
Gospel reading from Matthew
Jesus said “For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them;to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. 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.’ 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.’ 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.’ 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.’
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 seed; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’
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? 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. So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents.
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. As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'”
Pastor Stevensen in his sermon this week admits that the parable in the gospel reading is harsh. There are two penitential seasons per year in our church calendar and we are entering one of them. He once taught a class on Jesus’ parables, and this parable was challenging. The purpose of the ending verses is not about greed. For a meaning the parable can be turned around. The slave was harsh toward his master, who can be a stand-in for God. He is indolent, lazy and fearful. But to be “tossed out” is a severe punishment. His trouble is in a lack of trust. The parable is saying we must get on with the work. It is about not all work being glamorous and about trust in Him. It is like a glamorous video Pastor once received from a “5-talent” congregation looking for a pastor. Should Pastor dig a hole? Feel sorry for himself? Martin Luther persuaded trust in God and go to work. The slave even accused his master of being a thief. Saying that to your boss could be disastrous and to God even worse. The parable really says keep on being a witness. Criticism is an unwillingness to trust and serve Him.
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