Job 38-40
Acts 16:1-21

“…[a master] going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them….But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.” Matthew 25:14, 18

In Matthew 25, Jesus tells a parable about a man going away for a while and entrusting three servants with his wealth, each according to their ability. The first two servants went straight to work and gained a return. The third servant, however, “received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money” (Matthew 25:18).

Have we ever dug a hole in the ground? It is actually a lot of work! What kind of underlying motivation was making the servant do work in the opposition direction? Matthew 25:24-25 gives the servant’s reasoning: “Master, I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not 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.”

Fear of the master made the servant hide the wealth; yet, his description of the master was at odds with what we know of the master in the parable. When we first encounter the master, he placed his faith in his servants and freely gave them his resources, measuring it according to their ability but giving it to them nonetheless. When he returned, he commended and celebrated the faith of the first two servants, eager to share his happiness with them. For the third servant, it seemed like he was describing a different master altogether. This servant had a distorted image of the master, seeing him as a hard and dishonest man, and put up boundaries on his master’s activity as though he knew all of the master’s business.

When the master returned and learned what the third servant did, he declared, “You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed?” (Matthew 25:26). It may sound like the master agrees with the servant, but this is actually rhetorical sarcasm because the servant was wicked and did not truly know what the master was like and misrepresented him.

Despite the master’s condemnation and judgment, there was mercy: “…you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest” (Matthew 25:27). Not that the master was not looking for a specific outcome, but had the servant acted in faith and did something with the wealth, the Master would have welcomed him with joy. Instead, the servant buried the truth, exchanging it for a lie.

As we consider this parable, do we truly know the Master that we serve? Our understanding of the Master will determine what we do.

Dear Master, You are merciful and kind. Thank You for freely giving me Your resources, may I steward them well until You return.

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