Parable of the Bags of Gold

Exodus 26:1-27:21; Matthew 25: 1-30; Psalm 31:1-8; Proverbs 8:1-11

Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journy. The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

Matthew 25: 26:-18

My daughter, Ashley, tells a funny story about when I was trying to share this parable with her as a pre-teen. I was trying to impart my vast wisdom upon her, and kept fumbling up the story. My point was to share that she has many gifts, and that God wants her to use them. The re-telling of this parable went something like this:

Me: Ashley, one time there was a mighty king that had immense riches.

(Ashley listens intently)

Me: He was going off on a trip and needed someone to take care of his wealth while he was away. Wait, was it a king or a master?

(Ashley looks off, but then back again, beginning to tap her fingers as she does when she gets impatient)

Me: Anyway, it doesn’t matter, lets just call him a master of the vineyard. So he goes gathers his three servants together and he gives them each money to hold on to while he’s away. The first one he gives 10 coins. Wait, was it ten coins or was it five? Maybe it was five, and he made it 10.

(Ashley, blank faced that says nothing more than seriously, Mom?)

Me: Well, it doesn’t matter. Lets just call it five. So he gives the first guy five coins….wait. Maybe it wasn’t coins at all. Maybe it was grains of wheat. Yes that’s right, it was wheat. Because that guy buries it and it becomes more wheat. Then the second guy got 2 grains, and he made a smaller bushel of wheat…..wait, no, that doesn’t make any sense because if the third guy burried his wheat, then….No, it was coins. Definatly coins.

(Ashley looks away losing interest all together, hoping this moment ends soon, because she just doesn’t even care)

Me: Ashley, listen, this is important!! I want you to get this story…..So then the third guy he buries his, because he was afraid.Both hysterical laughter, because by now, Ashley has no idea what I’m talking about. But it was a great memory. As she was growing up, when we went to church and this parable happened to come up, we both had a good chuckle. Or when I tried to share more wisdom in the future, she’d ask me if this was going to be another parable of the bags of gold.

After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five bags of gold brough the other five. “Master,” he said, “you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.”

His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share in your master’s happiness!”

-Matthew 25: 19-21

This is the kind of woman I want to be. This servant was wise, did his research, was confident and did well with his investments. I was thinking this morning about what God has given me to invest? That was hard because I don’t have a lot of money or possessions.

What have you invested well in? The stock market? Your family? Your land?

The man with two bags of gold also came. “Master,” he said, “you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.”

His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”

Matthew 25: 22-23

So then I think, its not HOW MUCH I’ve received, its that I have received gifts and I need to invest them well. My health is good, when I eat right and exercise, I get stronger and stay healthy. I know that as I get older, if I don’t take care of myself…..yikes, that’s not going to be good.

I have my daughters who live close who have had my grandchildren. I am blessed with my husband of 29 years. What does it look like to invest well in them? Date night with hubby? Lunch and phone calls with my girls? Putting others ahead of my own needs? To be honest, sometimes I feel lonely in this empty nest, which can create resentment and bitter feelings when my girls choose to spend time with their in-laws. Perhaps instead of focusing on the negativity of that, I could verbally honor them for loving others well, just like I tried to teach them. I invested well in loving them, and now they are exhibiting how to love others well. They’re both hard workers, which is a skill I tried to instill on them. So they’re busy! They’re both very successful in their jobs and I’m proud of them….was this work ethic a gift that Jeff and I exhibited to them?

Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. “Master,” he said, “I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have no sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.”

His master replied, “you wicked and lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well, then you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance.

Mathew 25: 24-28

So, in coming to my own defense, see why I got the story so messed up? It first starts talking about money, but ends with seeds. But at the end of the day, it could be either. Or both. Or all.

It could be health, money, family. It could be your accounting skills, or gifts for remembering the table of elements, or it could be, like Ashley, your musical talent. I don’t know what your gifts are. I do know that we all have received criticism or have failed at some point using them. ALL OF US. I promise have failed or been afraid to share them because they don’t feel worthy.

Take me for instance, writing this blog, I think, who’s going to read it? No one cares. I’m a horrible writer. What if they laugh at me, and think I’m crazy.

But what if this is that one little bag of gold….or seed…that God has given me, and I’m afraid to share it. Then it’ll sit here buried in the ground.

What is a gift you are afraid to invest in? Is it your health, are you taking care of your body mind and spirit on a daily basis?

What gift seems too overwhelming to invest in? Is it your talent, perhaps you don’t even know where to begin?

Is there someone you need to talk to, and invest in that relationship?

Don’t bury it….God wants you to do ONE LITTLE THING to invest in the gifts that God has given you. Perhaps that one thing is sharing it with me.

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