Luke 19:20-26

Then the other came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your pound. I wrapped it up in a piece of cloth, for I was afraid of you, because you are a harsh man; you take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ He said to him, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked slave! You knew, did you, that I was a harsh man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow? Why then did you not put my money into the bank? Then when I returned, I could have collected it with interest.’ He said to the bystanders, ‘Take the pound from him and give it to the one who has ten pounds.’ (And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten pounds!’) ‘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.  Luke 19:20-26

In Jesus’ day, no one who was as rich as the master in this parable got that way honestly, legally, or ethically. The master in this parable is a crook, a robber baron, a Bernie Madoff. The only way anyone could accumulate that kind of wealth was by paying off the Romans, making loans to farmers at impossible interest rates, foreclosing on loans, and taking their land.

And the only way that those first two servants could have doubled their money would have been to do stuff that was just as unethical as their boss.

When the third slave tells his master, “I was afraid of you, because you are a harsh man; you take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.” he is simply telling the truth. He is courageously standing up against the corruption and oppression of a world that is controlled by those who see to it that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

At the end of the parable, the third slave looks like a loser, suffering for telling the truth, standing up to the powers that be, sacrificing himself by refusing to benefit from the under-handed ways that made his own master rich. Standing with the poor instead of the powerful.

The third slave looks like Jesus.

Let us pray: Dear Lord, open our eyes to all the ways in which our value system, our sense of right and wrong, our sense of purpose in living, has been knocked askew by our own personal and cultural misconceptions. Shape us, guide our imaginations, use us as you will. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


8 Responses to “Luke 19:20-26”

  1. Laurene Lugo Says:

    Wow. I just heard a sermon yesterday that was the typical, “Use your talents to develop yourself to the utmost.” And felt the usual fear when I hear this verse and its usual interpretation. Your interpretation, I think, is daring and empowering. Thank you for helping me look at this a new way that is not fear based.

  2. Mary Martin Says:

    I thought this parable was about using what talent we had whether it is 10, 5 or 1. We all have something that we can contribute. So is Jesus telling us not to do anything with our lives so that we don’t look like the successful people around us, (crooked as they were is his day)? As the king said, the servant could have put the money in the bank and at least earned interest if he didn’t want to go out and actively work his talent. New twist on the parable.

  3. Mary Harper Says:

    I like this way of considering this Gospel, thanks.

  4. Carolee Groux Says:

    The man with great wealth who acquired it unethically, dishonestly should not be admired or followed or helped by another. It is better to stand with the poor and remain poor, than to sacrifice one’s honesty and integrity and stand on the wrong side of our Lord.

    • Mary Martin Says:

      There is nothing in the parable to indicate that the servant was to do something illegal or immoral to gain more money. I agree that it is better to be poor than to compromise our principles.

  5. Bob Schowalter Says:

    This is the fourth different interpretation of this parable that I have heard since I attended church Sunday. Three of them were new to me and one was what I would call traditional.

    How does that help me in my desire to better understand how God would have me live? Do I take to heart and believe just what rings true to me or do I embrace some other belief?

    It is no wonder we have so many different images of God!

    • Laurene Lugo Says:

      Really makes you think, eh Bob? That’s why I don’t trust interpretations that are too heavily fear based (works based). Asking for God’s will to be done, not mine, can be really difficult depending on one’s image of God.

  6. cyprian.onsongo Says:

    Dear beloved children of God
    Shalom to you all the brethren.
    Saints of the Most High, lovers of God, followers of Christ, slaves of the Gospel. To all of you who confess Christ before men in word and Good deeds. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and Christ our Lord. We praise the Lord for giving you and us great opportunities to preach the Gospel freely and for opening the hearts of His people.
    We are pleased and honored to let you know that your nurturing and nourishing Materials you put in your wonderful and precious website was a seed planted in our hearts and it will grow and bring forth much fruit when you will allow us to be part of the wonderful work you are doing so that together we can fulfill the will of God lifting up the veil from the eyes of His people, for them to see Christ in their lives, that together we might bring Him glory and honor and faithfully build His Kingdom. Also our heartfelt goes out to everyone who continues to contribute in putting new teaching materials in your website for the benefit of God’s people around the world.
    We dedicate you and your ministry into the hands of Jehovah and request for your teaching materials, prayers and fellowship with our congregation in Kenya near lake Victoria region where people are hungering with the word of God greatly.
    If God provides the opportunity we beseech that brothers make a MACEDONIAN TRIP here and help us. {Acts 16:9-10} We are based in Kenya and we shall be encouraged as you reply and share with us. We anticipate hearing from you soon. It is always an honor and blessing if you will accept us to part of your congregation and sees the God moving through our young congregation, continue to put such wonderful teaching in the website for us print and share with our believers here and we eagerly look forward to serving Him together with your congregation in the future.
    A congregation well done by His faithful servants brings GLORY to Christ.
    Deeply in His grace,
    Pastor Cyprian
    Kenya East Afr Phone. +254716947807

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