We have been studying the parables of Jesus in a Wednesday evening Bible study at church. This week, one of the parables we discussed was the parable of the three servants …
Once there was a man who was about to go on a journey; he called his servants and put them in charge of his property. He gave to each one according to his ability: to one he gave five thousand gold coins, to another he gave two thousand, and to another he gave one thousand. Then he left on his journey. The servant who had received five thousand coins went at once and invested his money and earned another five thousand. In the same way the servant who had received two thousand coins earned another two thousand. But the servant who had received one thousand coins went off, dug a hole in the ground, and hid his master’s money.
After a long time the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them. The servant who had received five thousand coins came in and handed over the other five thousand. “You gave me five thousand coins, sir,” he said. “Look! Here are another five thousand that I have earned.” “Well done, you good and faithful servant!” said his master. “You have been faithful in managing small amounts, so I will put you in charge of large amounts. Come on in and share my happiness!”
Then the servant who had been given two thousand coins came in and said, “You gave me two thousand coins, sir. Look! Here are another two thousand that I have earned.” “Well done, you good and faithful servant!” said his master. “You have been faithful in managing small amounts, so I will put you in charge of large amounts. Come on in and share my happiness!”
Then the servant who had received one thousand coins came in and said, “Sir, I know you are a hard man; you reap harvests where you did not sow, and you gather crops where you did not scatter seed. I was afraid, so I went off and hid your money in the ground. Look! Here is what belongs to you.”
“You bad and lazy servant!” his master said. “You knew, did you, that I reap harvests where I did not sow, and gather crops where I did not scatter seed? Well, then, you should have deposited my money in the bank, and I would have received it all back with interest when I returned. Now, take the money away from him and give it to the one who has ten thousand coins. For to every person who has something, even more will be given, and he will have more than enough; but the person who has nothing, even the little that he has will be taken away from him. As for this useless servant â€” throw him outside in the darkness; there he will cry and grind his teeth.”
Jesus’ parable describes servants (folks like us) being entrusted with an enormous amount of wealth (which is true of us). The parable seems to be about what Jesus expects us to do with all that wealth — wealth of money and resources and skills and energy and ideas and passions — with which we have been entrusted.
After listening to Jesus tell this parable, can we possibly think that Jesus means the church to “play it safe?” But isn’t that what we do?