We are continuing our exploration of Matthew 25:14-30. A few basic coordinates are helpful as we unpack this passage in relation to stewardship and theological education.
A helpful way to interpret a parable of Jesus is to find who or what represents God in the story – in this case, God is represented by the landowner in verse 14 who leaves on a long journey. A key assumption within this story is that the landowner has authority over all possessions. A conclusion we can draw from this is that in the kingdom of heaven, God is not only Creator but owner of all things.
In verse 15 the landowner distributes money to specific servants, “according to his [servant’s] own ability.” The landowner asks the servants to steward (or manage) the resources while he is gone and expects that they will give an account when he returns. You and I are the servants in this story – what we have is ours to manage but is owned by God.
In verse 19 the master returns and “settles accounts with them.” Each servant, in verses 20-30, are held accountable for what was done with the resources. The servants who manage well are rewarded with a doubling of resources while the “wicked, lazy servant” who buries the treasure is left without anything. There are many conclusions to draw from this but one that emerges is that the kingdom resources we are given in the future are directly tied to how well we manage what we have today.
Next week we’ll continue exploring how this passage relates to our own spiritual journey by connecting more dots and examining what isn’t stated in story.
– Dr. Brent Sleasman, President, Winebrenner Theological Seminary