Stewardship With a Side of Entitlement

I really love to write. Many of you may know that I love to take notes, love to make outlines. If I’m reading a non-fiction book, I like to take it slow and make outlines so I can better retain what I’m learning. This has produced some sort of reaction in my brain that I like – when I’m reading something that catches my attention, I automatically start digging deeper into it. I guess you could say that as I read, I sort of “think in outlines.”

I am trying to do a reading plan to read through the entire Bible in a year. I’m about fifteen days and fifteen blogs behind my train of thought, but Matthew 25 really caught my attention like it never had before.

Verses 14-30 tell of the parable of the bags of gold. It goes a little something like this…

The Parable of the Bags of Gold

14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them.20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’

21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

22 “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’

23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you…

I’ll end the passage there, but I should say that the master wasn’t happy with the last servant, who didn’t do a thing with the gold other than bury it. He called him wicked and lazy. Whoops!

What struck me most about this passage is not the “be faithful in the small things and I’ll give you big things”, or “don’t be lazy”, or anything else that I’ve heard in teachings on this passage before. What struck me was dialogue between the master and the first two men – the men who received five and two bags, respectively.

I can see the scenario in my mind… First man gets five bags. Second man gets two bags. Cue first man teasing second man because he got more gold than him. Cue second man whining because he didn’t get as much gold as the first guy. 

But hey, I didn’t notice that in the passage. I know it’s a parable, but it sure sounds like these two men just went to work with intentions of pleasing their master. Without grumbling. Without complaining. Without comparing, even though man #1 had more than twice the gold to work with that man #2 did.

Both men worked hard, and when their master returned, they had worked hard to double the amount that their master originally left them with. And although one man had five (now ten) bags of gold and the other had two (now four bags of gold), the master’s reply was exactly the same to both of them.

His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

I believe that God wants to – longs to – be gracious to us. I also think that often times he is, but our sense of entitlement tells us that we should have more. Thoughts of comparison enter our minds and we aren’t grateful for what we have because it’s not as “big” or as “cool” as what our neighbor has.
Entitlement is the idea that we are owed something by life in general; that we are owed something just because we are who we are. I just really want us all to reject that idea and wave goodbye to it FOREVER. I think it weakens us as humans, it weakens us as a country. I love the quote from Henry Ford – “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
Every good and perfect gift is from above. I believe it. But I’ll also dare to say that, unless we are willing to work hard – meet faith and spirituality in the middle with a little hard work and practicality – we will never be ready to receive everything God longs to give us. 

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