2011 Advent Devotion- Friday, December 16

Friday, December 16                        
Matthew 25: 14-30

This parable is one of several that speak of Jesus’ return. This discourse is a conversation between the master who has returned and three slaves. For each response from a slave, there is an action on the master’s part that, depending upon how the master has judged the slave’s investment, determines the slave’s fate. This text has been interpreted traditionally from the viewpoint of the wealthy; the master is good and justified in expecting a return, and the servant’s job is to realize the interests of the master. Over the last few decades, theologians who acknowledge the right of the servant to be cautious have challenged this perspective. It was dangerous to lose a master’s investment, and the fear of bodily punishment would drive any honest slave to preserve the investment at all cost.

This text demonstrates our challenge to live out our faith in an ethical manner in a world that can be unethical in the financial arena. In this time of advent while we wait for that promised return that God holds forth—we are challenged to acknowledge that the financial dealings being made within our socio-political contexts can have unethical implications if we read the financial investments from the location of the wealthy only. Responsible stewardship means more than just profit.

God of all creation, who guides us during this time of waiting—help us to wait acknowledging that living out our faith entails a full understanding of your call to be a just and ethical society. In Christ we pray. Amen.

Rev. A. Vanessa Hawkins, doctoral student interdisciplinary studies, Graduate Theological Union
Berkeley, California

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