The Fourth Servant

Yesterday I shared some thoughts about the parable of the talents.  Pastor Mike Weber posted a comment with a midrash about a fourth servant.  It makes such an important point about how God responds to our efforts that I wanted to be sure everyone noticed it.  Here it is:

Someone once wrote a midrash on this parable that makes an interesting point. (Unfortunately, I cannot recall the authors name.)

“There was also fourth servant to whom the master entrusted four talents. With two of the talents the servant invested in a fleet of ships and filled them with trade goods; with two he financed a camel caravan to go to China on the silk road. But a storm at sea sank the entire fleet and bandits captured the camel caravan so that the servant was left with nothing.

When the master returned the fourth servant fell at his feet and said, “O master, I sought to trade with your talents but a storm destroyed your boats and bandits captured your caravan. I have nothing to return to you, so I bow at your feet and am willing to be sold into slavery to repay my debt.”

But the master raised the servant up on his feet and spoke to him. “O my servant, you sought to serve me and proved your faithfulness even of you have nothing to show for your efforts. You have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”

What the Lord requires of us is not success, but faithfulness and a willingness to take risks for the kingdom.

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