The Story of Three Slaves
14 “Again, here is what the kingdom of heaven will be like. A man was going on a journey. He sent for his slaves and put them in charge of his money. 15 He gave five bags of gold to one. He gave two bags to another. And he gave one bag to the third. The man gave each slave the amount of money he knew the slave could take care of. Then he went on his journey. 16 The slave who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work. He earned five bags more. 17 The one with the two bags of gold earned two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went and dug a hole in the ground. He hid his master’s money in it.
19 “After a long time the master of those slaves returned. He wanted to collect all the money they had earned. 20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you trusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have earned five more.’
21 “His master replied, ‘You have done well, good and faithful slave! You have been faithful with a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
22 “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you trusted me with two bags of gold. See, I have earned two more.’
23 “His master replied, ‘You have done well, good and faithful slave! You have been faithful with a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man. You harvest where you have not planted. You gather crops where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid. I went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
26 “His master replied, ‘You evil, lazy slave! So you knew that I harvest where I have not planted? You knew that I gather crops where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money in the bank. When I returned, I would have received it back with interest.’
28 “Then his master commanded the other slaves, ‘Take the bag of gold from him. Give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 Everyone who has will be given more. They will have more than enough. And what about anyone who doesn’t have? Even what they have will be taken away from them. 30 Throw that worthless slave outside. There in the darkness, people will weep and grind their teeth.’
At first sight this passage might appear to say “Go out and get rich…” but it is in fact saying something very different. Jesus always spoke in parables in order that the people of the day would easily understand and business was something they all understood – as they do today. The bags of gold given out, represent the knowledge, love and talents given to us (the slaves) by God (the master). The return on them in turn represents the extent to which we share those things to show more people His love. When we hear the message, we are to share it with as many as possible in order to give those people the joy it brings, and the chance to be part of God’s Kingdom.
At the second coming of Christ, he will ask us what we have done with the knowledge he has given us – have we kept it to ourselves, or have we shared it with others? When I heard this message in church this morning was I to think “Okay that was a good sermon Tim” and come home and watch TV and forget all about it; or was I to spend a bit of time putting this on the internet where it can be seen by others? Equally others will talk about the message at work or even in the pub. If you have read this and want to know more, then please come to one of our churches and someone will gladly answer your questions – we hope to see you soon!