17 November 2010Luke 19:11-28
"I tell you, to all those who have, more will be given; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away." (v. 26)
Luke's account of the story of the talents is more complicated
and perhaps for that reason less well known than Matthew's one (Matthew 25:14-30). It isn't easy on the ear!
Rich people getting richer; hated noblemen getting angry;
frightened slaves getting punished. It's not easy at all. One thing
that might help us understand the story is to know that a parable
is not quite the same as other forms of story such as an analogy, a
metaphor or a fable. While one may well want to ask what the
various details mean, you can sometimes make the best sense of such
stories by, 'feeling them' and getting the overall impression,
rather than, 'interpreting them'. They are big brush stroke stories
that you hear, are touched by and perhaps remind you of things you
already know from somewhere else. If you get too 'clever' with
them, you can miss the point.
This story is about strong feelings: of a hated leader, a fearful slave, incredulous bystanders, 'Lord he has ten pounds!' and of anger and harsh judgement. It isn't an easy tale and like a discordant note in a piece of music, carefully placed by a composer, it is meant to stand out, trouble you and cause you to remember and wonder. The feelings of anger and rejection, of fear and incredulity are not offered as 'the right feelings', but rather the sort of thing we might, and probably do feel in an everyday world, where God's rule seems difficult to see and justice far from happening. We are asked when Jesus seems so distant, 'do you also hate the nobleman travelling far away to get royal power?' We also seem to wonder, 'why do some people find it all so easy and we so hard?' Sometimes, perhaps our hearts are full of fear and doubt at what is expected of us by God when we feel we have so little'. The overriding message, the big brush stroke, is that God may seem distant, people may reject him, but actually he is truly trusting us and we can make a difference.
How do you feel about where Jesus is in your own experience?
How do you feel about your gifts and graces?
In Prisons Week, where are you being challenged to take a risk and not play it safe any more?
Help me to notice all that you have trusted me with, and by your grace and love to become more trustworthy.