Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Using the Gifts Matthew 25:14-30

Is it possible for humans to underestimate the value of God's gifts? Absolutely; but just how much we undervalue God's gifts to us may be Jesus point in Matthew 25.

Jesus story of the 3 servants each given τάλαντα, commonly transliterated as talents (NIV, KJV and NRSV), but Translated as bags (NCV and NLT), of gold denarii invites us to imagine the generosity of God and the failure of people to appreciate God's gift.

Jesus speaks of a master going on a trip, and he invites us to imagine that very same master giving away his possessions in trust to his servants. The master is very trusting no different than God the Father. He gave away bags of gold to his servants just as God the Father has provided us with everything in creation. Each bag was worth perhaps a 180,000 silver denarrii or 180,000 days wages to his servants (see Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament). Some may say these numbers are ridiculous, that was probably Jesus point. He spoke outside the temple walls in the week before he died telling the story of a generous master who trusted his servents to handle vast wealth.

The master gave 10 bags to one servant, 5 to another, and 1 to a third servant. The first two used the bags of money to earn even more money for their master; but the third had no gain to show for the trust he'd been given. Instead he just returned the bag of money entrusted to his master after digging it up from the yard.

The first two servents found approval when they met their master. They'd been shrewd and had great returns to show for their investments. The third was kicked out; not for losing the master's property but for failing to take any risk with it at all. We are risk adverse; but God's gifts are given to us any way. We under estimate the value by us all the time.

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