Matthew 25:14-30 The Parable of the Bags of Gold NIV

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. The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’

His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’

His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

One Bag Lethargy

When I read this passage I was perplexed at the lethargy of the “one bag” man.  How could you have such little drive?  How could you have not accepted responsibility?  Why would you not do as the others and produce results?  Why didn’t he just get to work?  How could you have no fear of punishment for disobedience?

Then I turned my thoughts from indignation to contemplation and, eventually, compassion.  Why does the scripture state he went “off to bury”?  Why did he separate himself from the other servants?  Was he, himself, hiding?  Who was he hiding from – the other servants, the Master or himself?  Was he trying to escape accountability?  Had he had a previous unpleasant attempt when given responsibility?  Was he a procrastinator, afraid to start and waited too long?  Was he full of insecurity and self-loathing, comparing himself to others? Did he make up that excuse of a “hard man” just to try and cover his own short-comings?

Did the five bag man and the two bag man take note of his behavior or observe his challenges?  Did they help him discover what he did well?  Did they communicate their appreciation of what they had been given? Did they encourage a fellow servant to press on?

Do I share opportunities to let other servants develop their talents?  Do I offer support or hope to my fellow servants as I watch them serve the Master?  Do I give my Master credit for the gifts I have received?  What are my reasons for not doing the best I can?  Will I be ready when the Master returns?  Will I have heard “Well done, good and faithful servant!” when my Master returns?

Prayer:  Dear God, Help me to do the best with the gifts you have entrusted me.  Help me to be an example, to strengthen others and exalt you.  Amen.

Jennifer Tefft

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