Saturday, September 1, 2018

Wicked Lazy Servant

“…Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said, 'Master, you gave me two talents.  See, I have made two more.' His master said to him, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities.  Come, share your master's joy.'  

Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said, 'Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter; so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground.  Here it is back.'  

His master said to him in reply, 'You wicked, lazy servant!  So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant and gather where I did not scatter? Should you not then have put my money in the bank so that I could have got it back with interest on my return?  Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten.  For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.  And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.'"

I’d wager most of us would not want to be the “wicked, lazy servant,” according to the Master.   He was thrown into darkness where there was “wailing and grinding of teeth.”   I like that so-called wicked and lazy servant.  We all should be like him.   What!? 

Think about it.   Doesn’t the Master sound and act like a slave master?   The servant with one talent (money, not ability) made a critically important point: the Master was demanding and harvested where he did not plant; he gathered where he did not scatter.    He was joyous when his servants (slaves) did as they were told and made his money grow.   Can we hear the whip across their backs?

Read again the Master’s own words: “For to everyone who has, more will be given [the rich get richer], but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away [the poor get poorer]."    The one without was thrown into the darkness to wail and grind teeth (hell).

This parable almost always is misinterpreted – misunderstood.    Jesus was about the poor, the outcasts, the downtrodden, the women and children who had little to no worth.   He was on their side.   Matthew makes this point in the strongest terms with his story, that is, Jesus’ parable.

So, next time we hear this story of the talents, consider being the wicked and lazy servant who in reality was the wisest.  He fought the Master with nonviolent resistance.  One can imagine this same dialogue to have taken place in the Deep South in the 1800’s on slave owners’ plantations.   One can imagine it being said all over the world today where human trafficking is so pronounced and slaves – especially women and children – are used as cheap labor and sex workers. 

We who have ears ought to hear.

Deacon David Pierce

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