Lectionary resources for worship, faith formation, and service
The parable of the talents
“1% of people are writing the rules of an unfair global economy that is foreclosing on our future”
“And that’s the way it is. The rich get richer, and the poor people get poorer.”
~ “An Upside Down Story” Based on Matthew 25:14-30 by Ralph Milton, Lectionary Story Bible, Year A
Two stories over 2,000 years apart and yet… It makes you think, doesn’t it!
The parable of the talents is open to multiple interpretations – as is the case with any parable. The biblical background for November 13 offers a subversive reading of the parable for consideration; the third servant is the true hero!
“This servant stood up to the demanding boss who encouraged his employees to increase his wealth and their own bank accounts by making loans or investments that charged exorbitant interest rates. Burying the funds kept them from being used for such corrupt purposes…the third servant embraces God’s reign of justice and equality” (page 136).
“An Upside Down Story,” a paraphrase of Matthew 25:14–30 by Ralph Milton (see page 145 SeasonsFUSION) also tells the story from the “underside” (or the 99%).
When Jesus had finished telling his story he smiled at his friends. They all looked worried.
“Did you like my story?” He asked
“No, I didn’t like your story,” said Andrew. “The third servant did the right thing. And it isn’t fair that rich people keep getting more money, and the poor people keep getting poorer.”
“Andrew,” said Jesus. “I’m glad you didn’t like my story. I didn’t like it either.”
“I get it,” said Mary. “…you were turning things upside down.”
“Yes! That’s right, Mary,” said Jesus. “…my story is about the way things are. But that’s not the way they should be. The third servant did the right thing, even though the rich man was very unkind and very unfair. The third servant was living God’s way!”
Whether the interpretation is about taking risks for the sake of following Jesus’ mission, or a warning against living one’s life of discipleship in a maintenance mode and not making the most of the gifts that God gives, we can mine from it a meaning of abundant possibilities for justice, love and compassion.
How do you imagine you and your church are being called to take part in God’s reign?
“We are the 99 percent. We are getting kicked out of our homes. We are forced to choose between groceries and rent. We are denied quality medical care. We are suffering from environmental pollution. We are working long hours for little pay and no rights, if we’re working at all. We are getting nothing while the other 1 percent is getting everything. We are the 99 percent.”