Wanting a 4th servant

Matthew 25. The parable of the servants given money to keep track of while their master was away.

I don’t like this story.

Yes, I get the point of it… and yes, especially with it being right before the sheep who fed and clothed and visited in prison story, I get that it’s about true followers being those who put it into action.

But it still bugs me. I find myself wanting to argue on the behalf of the guy who buries the money in the ground.

I mean, think about it. The notes say the amount was roughly a years wages. A huge amount to this guy.

If you handed me a pile of cash that added up to about the amount I would make in a year and trusted me with it while you went on a trip, what would I do with it? About the same thing! There’s no way I’m ever going to be enough of a risk taker of any sort to decide to go out “trading” with it to double your money and risk losing it. It’s just never going to happen, especially with that much!

The guy gets told eventually he should have at least taken it to the bank to get interest… but I somehow doubt they had a version of the FDIC back then to make that risk free either.

Also… it’s directly said that it was divided “according to their abilities”. AKA the other two guys had 5 times and twice as much ability to manage money as this guy… and the master knew up front before he even gave it out what this guy’s abilities were, or rather lack of. If I know you have little ability to do something, and I ask you to do that thing, can I really be that surprised when your performance matches that?

And the guy said the reason he didn’t invest the money is because he knew the master was harsh and he was scared of losing the money. Given how upset the master is at the money not multiplying, I’m gonna say that sounds like a reasonable fear to me! And a good reason to not take risks in areas where you don’t have much ability.

Maybe he’s not the best money-maker, but the move he made does seem like a reasonable thing for him to do in the situation. Which makes the ending seem really cruel and overboard.

This makes me wish that the story had one more servant. One that also had a smaller amount due to his lesser ability, took the risk and failed miserably and had to report to the master that he lost some or all of the money in his honest attempts to make it grow.

Because that’s about where I relate more often than I care to admit most of the time. With a flop that’s not for lack of trying, but leaving me annoyed with my lacking in accomplishment and wondering whether its because I made a bad move that seemed wise at the time or just a lacking in my ability level.

And just like that we’re back to the topic of the past few posts, and into whether a lacking of ability level vs negative choices are the ones running the show and how much it matters.

I’d loved to have read exactly what the master said to the 4th servant.


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