"[God's kingdom is] also like a man going off on an extended
trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities.
To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand,
to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. Then he
left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his
master's investment. The second did the same. But the man with
the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master's
"After a long absence, the master of those three servants
came back and settled up with them. The one given five thousand
dollars showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master
commended him: 'Good work! You did your job well. From now on
be my partner.'
"The servant with the two thousand showed how he also had
doubled his masters investment. His master commended him: 'Good
work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.'
"The servant given one thousand said, 'Master, I know you
have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the
best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint
you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money Here
it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.'
"The master was furious. 'That's a terrible way to live!
Its criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was
after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least
you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the
bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest.
"'Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the
most. And get rid of this "play-it-safe" who won't
go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.'
From John Wesley's Notes on the New Testament:
30. Cast ye the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness
-- For what? what had he done? It is true he had not done good.
But neither is he charged with doing any harm. Why, for this
reason, for barely doing no harm, he is consigned to outer darkness.
He is pronounced a wicked, because he was a slothful, an unprofitable
servant. So mere harmlessness, on which many build their hope
of salvation, was the cause of his damnation! There shall
be the weeping -- Of the careless thoughtless sinner;
and the gnashing of teeth -- Of the proud and stubborn.
The same great truth, that there is no such thing as negative
goodness, is in this chapter shown three times:
1. In the parable of the virgins;
2. In the still plainer parable of the servants, who had received
the talents; and
3. In a direct unparabolical declaration of the manner wherein
our Lord will proceed at the last day. The several parts of each
of these exactly answers each other, only each rises above the
A great struggle for us is that of positive goodness -- letting
goodness shine through, particularly when it is being challenged.
Sometimes, though, the best we can do is to refrain from evil
- to decide to let it remain undone. To be active in the basic
minimum of "do no evil" is not the same as to share
in the unbounded "do good." Yet it has its own value.
As you wrestle with the gifts you have received, may you find
how not to use them as well as how to use them. In the midst
of this exploration, trust the presence of forgiveness. Live
The first two recipients of "talents" had to find a
way to use and not use that which had been given them. How do
you invest responsibly in the current market? Do you go for the
highest return, the safest return, the socially responsible return?
Here you are encouraged to invest boldly in socially responsible
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