Full Payment

Christ Jesus' parable of the servants who were given one, two, and five talents (see Matt. 25:14-30) seems to many most unfair. The servant who was given only one talent and buried it because he was afraid he might lose it was punished by being called wicked and slothful, having it taken away from him, and being banished. This seems cruel and unusual punishment. And the one who had invested five talents and doubled them was given in addition the talent that was taken from the other. Why shouldn't it have been given to the one who had two talents?

In the same way, it might seem unfair that, in the parable of hiring the laborers who were waiting in the marketplace (see Matt. 20:1-16), those who had worked a full day got no more pay than those latecomers who had worked only an hour. We can hardly blame them for objecting, even if they did get what they had contracted for. Certainly no union today would stand for such practices.

But we know that Christ Jesus was incapable of being unjust or unloving; so there must be more to his illustrations than appears on the surface. And as we progress spiritually, we find that the answer comes to us bit by bit. We find these parables explained through our own experience.

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Being Ourselves
November 23, 1968

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