I was privileged to preach this past Sunday on the Parable of the Talents. Here’s an excerpt:
And this is why the parable of the talents troubles me so. Just like I’m supposed to, I always associate with one of the characters in the story. The problem is, I always associate with the wrong one. There are three servants in the tale, and two of them are identified by the end as “good and faithful.” But no matter how I try, I always see myself in the one the master calls “wicked and lazy.” He seems insecure and afraid of failure. And I resonate with that. I cringe at the idea that someone like him, someone like me, would end up out in the “darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
But there’s a bigger problem. On the surface, it sure looks like this parable teaches that we are saved, that we earn God’s favor, by works not by grace. Think about it: three servants are given a task and the ones who excel in that task are rewarded. The one who fails is punished. If this is a picture of how God decides who’s in and who’s out, it is a frightening picture indeed.
Here’s a link to the full manuscript: Parable of the Talents.