Pre-recorded Sunday Service from St Andrews
Please see link below and the attached reflection:
PREPARING FOR THE RETURN OF JESUS
Text: Then 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 (Matthew 25:24)
Reading: Matthew 25: 14-30
Hymn: The right hand of God is writing in our land – StF 715
What we have traditionally called the Parable of the Talents is part of three parables that
Jesus told in his last week on earth, all about being ready for his own return (Matthew 24-25).
The first parable was about servants whose master put in charge of their fellow servants. The
one who did his job in readiness for the coming of the master was commended but the one
who thought that the master has delayed and will not come soon and who treated his fellow
servants harshly, was condemned. In the parable of the ten virgins, again, readiness is at
stake. The ten virgins went to a wedding feast not knowing when the groom will come. Five
of them were condemned for not being prepared while the other five were commended for
In the parable of the three servants and the talents, they were given money to work with and
to make profit. All of them were prepared to meet the master; two ready with their capital and
profit and one ready to confront the master for being wicked, harvesting where he had not
sown and gathering where he had not scattered seed. Thus, we may radically look at the
master as a merchant, not necessarily God. Here the servants represent two groups of people
who find themselves in an unjust situation. One group will work themselves out or into the
system, but the other group will challenge the system.
Could we make the last servant, with one talent, the hero who challenged an unjust economic
order that makes the rich richer and the poor poorer? This comes to light especially if we read
the confrontation of the third servant in the light of the Old Testament prophets who
condemned the elite who, through unjust means, have acquired wealth and who keep on
oppressing the poor and needy, extorting from them to increase their wealth. They spend all
their time exploiting the vulnerable people in their community to build up wealth for
themselves; and enjoying luxury and extravagance acquired at the expense of the poor and
So, is Jesus calling us to challenge such unfair systems that condemn people to abject poverty
and perpetual vulnerability? Will this be a way to prepare for the coming of Christ who will
rule with justice and fairness? The third servant confronted the master for being wicked,
harvesting where he had not sown and gathering where he had not scattered seed. If indeed
that was the nature of the master and this servant boldly challenged him, could he be a hero?
Are we being asked, as we prepare to meet Jesus, to look around us, the many workers who
are unfairly treated, who work long hours and get less than the minimum wage, whose
working conditions are daily deteriorating, yet from whom is high standards of work is demanded?
A recent typical example will be health workers who during the COVID-19 pandemic may be
working under stressful conditions with no or less PPEs and who would challenge the system
to provide for their protection and security so they can confidently and securely take care of
their patients. We are unjust to such people if all we do is to clap for them and say all kinds of
good things about them but refuse to reward them financially for the extra effort they are
putting in and the risk they bear for us all. If any of them feels that without due reward, they
will not risk their lives and challenge the government, should we not be on their side?
Are we called upon to challenge these acts of injustice as we prepare for the just and fair
reign of Christ? And are we waiting precious time by looking on unconcerned?