Monday, 23 March 2009

The Story About Investment

My class have been putting the parable of the talents into practice:

"It's also like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. Then he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master's investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master's money.

"After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them. The one given five thousand dollars showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master commended him: 'Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.'

"The servant with the two thousand showed how he also had doubled his master's investment. His master commended him: 'Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.'

"The servant given one thousand said, 'Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.'

"The master was furious. 'That's a terrible way to live! It's criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest.

"'Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this "play-it-safe" who won't go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.' Matthew 25:14 - 30, The Message

I've given each of them £1, to keep safe for me or to try to multiply it to raise funds for The Tumaini Fund, supporting AIDS widows and orphans. They are having tremendous fun, using their £1 in all kinds of ways: one had spent his pound on car washing materials, washing cars for Saturday shoppers. Another had marbled card with paints, then made bookmarks. One had made a collection of pompom animals, another brooches out of felt. A talented artist had bought a canvas and sold the resulting painting to a local art gallery. Another designed, drew and wrote his own comic, paying for multiple copies to be produced. One rather unconfident child wrote and read out a long speech on how he had bought ingredients from his mother, baking and selling cakes and then using the profits to buy more ingredients and do it again. We heard, in great detail, about the kind of cakes and how much money he made at each step.

They have had tremendous fun - and so have I. But, more importantly, this has taught me a lesson.

I’ve never really understood the parable before. Yes, I know we should use our God-given gifts and attributes – but I’ve never really understood why the one talent was taken away from the poor guy who only had one to start with. After all, he kept it safe – didn’t lose it or spend it. But, now that I have been responsible for lending out money myself, and seeing the joy of the children as they have multiplied it hundreds of times over on behalf of The Tumaini Fund, now I get it. I would do the same as that master - give that one talent to someone who will make much better use of it.

Use it or lose it.

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