This parable would have been difficult for people in the ancient near East to understand. The owner entrusting this kind of money to slaves may have been done but it would have shown a movement toward a commercial understanding of the assets rather than a familial one. Slaves over sons would not be a rural Jewish way of doing things.
Another problem would be the difficulty the owner had with burying the money. Burial in this ancient time was thought to be the safest storage for your wealth. Jews did not see profiting off one another as honorable or even lawful as Deuteronomy 23:19-20 states:
You shall not charge interest on loans to another Israelite, interest on money, interest on provisions, interest on anything that is lent.So we see this parable turning around what would have been a normative way of thinking for the people of that day. Jesus seems to remind us that God's economy is different than a human one. God may emphasize thinking that we don't see at first glance.
The problem with burying our resources
is that sometimes we forget where we put them.
Notice that the slave at fault it afraid of the master. This would have also been a norm for what people of that day thought about God. What if this fear is ultimately his undoing? What if we were to see God working with us so that we could adopt more of the attitude of the first two slaves who took great risks and doubled their money?
How do we play it safe with our faith?
Where might God be calling us to take risks?
Prayer for the day:
God, we would all like to be the ones that doubled your resources.
We would take risks for you that paid dividends for the kingdom.
But we recognize that our actions more often seem to resemble the burial of your talents.
Help us to see more clearly what we could be in the moment.
And may we this lead to decisions that create abundance.
Photo by Mike via Flickr.com. Used under the Creative Commons license.