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(help?) Mathew 2:14 - 30

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can someone help me out with this parable, I have prayed and meditated on it and just don't get it. some of my stumbling blocks seem to be conflicts with:

- seems to suggest work based reward
- the least becomes well least
- the master described by the one talent slave doesn't seem to have christ like characteristics

I'm 100% sure this is incomplete / wrong interpretation just need some help seeing how / where.


Also, a broader question - at what point is it ok to turn to fellow brothers and sisters for these type of answers whne you are not getting in your own prayer....put another way isn't there a danger of relying to much on man telling you God's Word vs interpreting and seeking in your own heart.

thanks in advance for answer on first and thoughts on 2nd part
 
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Matthew 25:14-30
14*“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a trip. He called together his servants and gave them money to invest for him while he was gone. 15*He gave five bags of gold* to one, two bags of gold to another, and one bag of gold to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities—and then left on his trip. 16*The servant who received the five bags of gold began immediately to invest the money and soon doubled it. 17 The servant with two bags of gold also went right to work and doubled the money. 18 But the servant who received the one bag of gold dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money for safekeeping.
19 “After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money. 20*The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of gold said, ‘Sir, you gave me five bags of gold to invest, and I have doubled the amount.’ 21 The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’
22 “Next came the servant who had received the two bags of gold, with the report, ‘Sir, you gave me two bags of gold to invest, and I have doubled the amount.’ 23 The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’
24*“Then the servant with the one bag of gold came and said, ‘Sir, I know you are a hard man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. 25*I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth and here it is.’
26*“But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! You think I’m a hard man, do you, harvesting crops I didn’t plant and gathering crops I didn’t cultivate? 27 Well, you should at least have put my money into the bank so I could have some interest. 28*Take the money from this servant and give it to the one with the ten bags of gold. 29 To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who are unfaithful,* even what little they have will be taken away. 30*Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
- seems to suggest work based reward
In a way you are right, but in this parable the goal of the master was not to get an increase of funds but rather to train up faithful servants. Note He only intrusted them with small amounts, differing according to their individual abilities. So again the object or goal of the master was not to expand His bank account. He was creating faithfulness in His servants through responsibilities.
- the least becomes well least
Don't confuse least with lazy. In the time that Jesus spoke these parables there was a hiarchy in the company or household of slaves or servants. When Jesus stated that the least would be the greatest in His Kingdom, He was promoting the practise of servanthood over self. Jesus taught this not only in word and parable, but in deeds and actions.
- the master described by the one talent slave doesn't seem to have christ like characteristics
Now , in this parable there is one master and three servants. The first two servants(the faithful servants) did not say that the master was a hard man. The master actually rewarded the two faithful servants and celebrated with them. So I would say that the master was a very fair man. It was the third(the lazy servant) who did not really know the master.

Also, a broader question - at what point is it ok to turn to fellow brothers and sisters for these type of answers whne you are not getting in your own prayer....put another way isn't there a danger of relying to much on man telling you God's Word vs interpreting and seeking in your own heart.
I think the key is going to God first, and don't forget that Jesus has put the gift of teaching ( one of the five ministry gifts listed in Ephesians 4) in the Church for this very reason. But with every teaching and preaching, make sure you have the witness of the Holy Spirit before you accept it.

I hope this helps. I appreciate your hunger for understanding God's Word.
 

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