Matthew 25:14-30 (NRSV)
Verse 14"For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; Verse 15to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. Verse 16The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. Verse 17In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. Verse 18But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money. Verse 19After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. Verse 20Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, 'Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.' Verse 21His master said to him, 'Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.' Verse 22And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, 'Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.' Verse 23His master said to him, 'Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.' Verse 24Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, 'Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; Verse 25so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.' Verse 26But his master replied, 'You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? Verse 27Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. Verse 28So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. Verse 29For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. Verse 30As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
The gospel reading continues the focus this week on concerns of the end time. In chapter 24 Matthew has basically followed Mark’s lead with cautions against useless speculation about the end of time and the call rather to be awake and ready at all times for the coming of the Son of Man. But now he has added three parables of Jesus, unique to his Gospel, including this Parable of the Talents, which provide illustrative examples for his disciple community about what waiting for Jesus here and now in the meantime is to look like. Such waiting is grounded in Matthew’s understanding throughout of God’s kingdom, which as if in answer to Jesus’ petition in the Lord’s prayer—“your kingdom come”—is always in the process of coming into being among us. In this promise, and especially in Jesus’ promise in the Great Commission that he will be with us “until the end of the age,” we can faithfully and confidently make use of God’s gifts for the sake of the world.
God of Promise, guard us from useless speculation or immobilizing fears when we contemplate the end of time, but lead us to responsible use of the talents you have given us to engage in promoting your kingdom of justice and righteousness here and now in the meantime of waiting. Amen.