In Jesus’ parable of the talents, the story ends on a sour note. The master is calling in his main accounts: “Then the man who had received the one talent (i.e., a valuable gold or silver bar) came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you’” (Matthew 25:24,25).
The “one talent” manager shows why the master had trusted him the least—he had the bad judgment to embarrass the master and call him a shady dealer publicly! But his first action was worse—he buried the money instead of doing the minimum, i.e., at least just walking it to the bank.
Why would he hide the money? Well, to steal it, of course. If he buried it, there would be no paper trail. Nobody would know he had it. If the master never returned, in time he could pretend that it was his.
How easy it is for us to play mind games like Mr. One Talent. How easy it is to look at God’s stuff and say, “Mine.” How easy it is to forget that we were created for his service and his agenda. How good it is for you and me to have this conversation before God returns and it’s too late.
Pastor Mark Jeske has been bringing the Word of God to viewers of Time of Grace since the program began airing in late 2001. A Milwaukee native, Pastor Jeske has served as the senior pastor at St. Marcus, a multicultural congregation on Milwaukee’s near north side since 1980. In addition, he is the author of six books and dozens of devotional booklets on various topics.
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