At church today (being SDA, Saturday is our day) the lesson was on “Stewardship” (the context is a quarter on the topic “The Christian Life”). And our lesson facilitator began with Matt 25; 14-30 which is the parable of the talents. And here, it becomes obvious that Jesus presents God – the Master – as the ultimate free market venture capitalist: “Talents” are expected to be invested for gain and profit. The servant who simply buried his talent was excoriated severely (while many I know in today’s economy are quite happy to simply preserve their capital!) and a “mere” doubling of capital seems to be the expected norm.
So, we talked about Stewardship; how in reality, all belongs to God, that in reality, God wants not 10% of us – but ALL of us, that maybe stewardship is a private matter (see Matt 6) between me and God, and that one does not ultimately “steward” his way into the kingdom.
But of course, as a participant in this site, I instantly recognized this chapter in Matt as one of our “problem” passages; ie see, on Talbotts corner, the discussions on Matt 25:41&46.
It occurred to me then to wonder about the curious juxtaposition, by Matthew, of a passage on talent management immediately followed by the infamous sheep and goats analogy. For here, wise “investments” are measured in extraordinarily simple ways; clothing the naked, offering a drink of cold water to the thirsty, feeding the hungry, visiting the sick or the imprisoned (ie attending the marginalized?) are themselves seen to BE the sort of extravagant “investments” in humanity that God values!!
Now it seems obvious to me (and I hope you too) that the ethos of God’s kingdom places inestimable value on each human soul. As such, when we participate in God’s kingdom (which is what Christ came to call us to do) we act in ways that uphold this value system of God’s. Thus, a “good steward” extends beyond himself and cares for those who God cares about.
Obviously then God IS the ultimate “good Steward” is He not?? And while it is true that God invites us to participate in the stewardship of His creation with Him, the ultimate worth of that creation has it’s foundations not in OUR efforts, but in the value and love God Himself places upon His creation.
It seems then, a very small, and for us (as believers in Universal Reconciliation) an insignificant step (insignificant as in obvious) to grasp that God’s compassion and stewardship for His entire creation will be realized. Thus God, as the ultimate “Steward” of His own creation, simply will not allow any to be ultimately lost.
Does this line of thinking resonate at all with you???