This past weekend, we opened up a difficult conversation around money, finances, wealth, profits, economics, and capitalism. And, since we are in a series looking at nuance (Grey Area), we began by realizing both the subtle power of money, as well as the good of money. Money can do really great things, but it can also really quickly become our master.
So, the issue isn’t money per se, but how our hearts relate and respond to money.
To explore this further, we looked at the parable of the talents in Luke 19:11-27. First, I shared the traditional interpretation of this parable, after which I shared some of the major issues with that interpretation. You know, the one where the good guy, or the hero, is the one who makes 10x the investment.
And, we looked at six reasons why this interpretation falls short…
- The odd and specific details in the parable, exploring how they shape it.
- The theme of empire and power so clearly seen in the parable, and how the Bible is always anti-empire.
- The character of the king (who is often seen as a metaphor for God or Jesus in the traditional interpretation), and how he looks nothing like Jesus in the Gospels – stealing and taking what isn’t his, and having a severe cruel streak.
- The context of Luke, and how much he is against the amassing of wealth.
- How unjust and impossible a 10x return is to achieve in this society without the existence of oppression and outright theft.
- The historical basis this parable has in the story of the ruler, Archaleus.
All of this led us to our main, but simple point: Money blinds us, and we are so often blind to its power.
I think we interpret this parable wrong, because we aren’t aware of how deeply money, wealth, and greed shape our hearts and our imaginations.
I ended with this challenge: To pay more attention to money this week, by reading the Gospel of Luke. To see how Luke deals with money and greed. Because, I honestly believe that our world shapes us, and that we need to be more shaped by the Gospels than the values of our world.
So, read the gospel of Luke and get immersed in his world.