Friday, July 13, 2007

Talents and Sheep and Goats

A little Bible study today.

For the last two weeks, Tim Woodroof (not Woodruff) the preacher at Otter Creek has been teaching on Money and it's been really really good. You can listen to Week 1 here and Week 2 here. Last Sunday, Tim taught on the story of the rich fool in Luke 12, and related it to the story of the talents in Matthew 25. And what I noticed for the first time that the parable of the talents is immediately followed by the story of the Sheep and Goats, where Jesus says that even if someone claims him as Lord, but doesn't do the things of the Kingdom will be rejected. I talked a little about this in a post a while back called Saved By Grace, Judged by Works?

At any rate, reading it in this context brought something really home to me. If we believe in this is a true relating of what we will be judged on, it seems that God judges us, not by our statement of faith (although I will continue to hold that that is important), but by how we treat others, specifically the less fortunate. I don't think it's an accident that Jesus followed the Talents with Sheep and Goats. He basically says, "Don't be stingy with what God has given you. Go out and share with others. Because you will be judged on that." And of course, it's easy (and more comfortable to spiritualize it out. "Well, Phil, he's talking about our salvation there. And that we need to take the salvation gift that God has given us and make sure we share it so that other people don't go to Hell." That might be right, that might be complete Bovine Scat. Sometimes a talent is just a talent. What Jesus seems to be saying is, "The money that you have has been given not simply as a gift to you, but a resource to be used. And if you bury it, if you basically prevent it from being used, then you're not simply burying a gift given, but you're denying it to others. And if you do that, either with your money or the Good News of Jesus, it doesn't matter what name you wear in the end. You can claim me all you want; it's not going to help you in the end."

And perhaps, just perhaps, this chapter, these stories should scare the Scat out of us.

As always, I could be wrong and I'm always interested in conversation about it. Thanks to all of you who continue to walk in this journey with me.


judy thomas said...


In addition, I think he was calling all of us to risk and not bury.
Judy Thomas

TCS_Architect said...

Phil, the parable of the minas which is almost just like the talent one has become very meaningful to me. Both seem to teach that risk is required but the minas seem to make clear that Jesus wants us to know that "playing it safe" is not desirable and in fact is a way of not trusting God. Thinking he is not fair and will require more than he should. And even that if we want to believe that about him he will let us.

But today I see a connection between that playing it safe mentality and care for the needy. I am sure personal greed comes into play as a reason to not help more, but for many I think it is fear. Fear of the people, fear that they will get hurt physically or emotionally, fear that they will not have enough themselves. So we bury things.

TCS said...

man google posted me on my old profile before I noticed.

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