Parable of the talents

Sermon for Bradford Consultation: 19 November 2014

I was asked to preach on Luke 19.11-28 during the Eucharist at the end of the Consultation. Here are my notes.

The nice thing about parables is that there is no one meaning. I offer you 3 interpretations.

  1. Parables with dire warnings are not threats from God.
    • It simply is the fact that you lose what you don’t use.
    • We are born rich with creativity and many if not most of our talents are buried.
    • We allow specialists to take over and to write, paint, make music, write theology, etc.
    • So, don’t bury your talents but trust yourself and do business with them.
  2. However, this is not a parable about making best use of our talents.
    • It is about money and power.
    • The nobleman is not standing in for God.
    • God does not treat people like this.
    • God does not accrue power, is not harsh, does not reap where She has not sown, does not take from the poor to give to the rich, nor slaughter His enemies.
    • This a parable about the driven and inhuman nature of worldly power and how it rewards the successful and sidelines those with the least. And, as much as the human poor, it is our mother the Earth which is the most frighteningly dispossessed. The Earth is our home and we are slaughtering it.
    • The slave with the least is standing in for Jesus, who, in the final verse, thinking that the kingdom of God is about to appear, sets his face for Jerusalem, where he will stripped of even the little He has. Because the powerful kill off their enemies.
    • What is true out there is true in here: I do not listen to all of myself. I favour some aspects of myself and I bury others away.
  3. What we learn from what happened next is that the kingdom of God is shown in failure.
    • It is not through being powerful, rich, successful, clever, personable, or spiritual that we enter the kingdom of God.
    • But that is another story.

As spiritual directors, our job is to listen out for the poor, frightened, marginalised and dispossessed voices in the soul of the world, in our directees’ souls, and in our own soul, and give them a generous welcome and place at the table…

And at this table.

2 thoughts on “Parable of the talents

  1. How original and interesting! Thank you for giving me something new to think about regarding this familiar parable

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