The lure of a pinot grigio - November 19, 2017
You can’t beat a good old set of scales! You would go to the corner shop and order your potatoes and carrots, maybe even some broccoli if you didn’t have your wits about you. The shopkeeper who would be dressed in a brown coat like Ronnie Barker in Open All Hours would take them and place them in a gold pan on one end of his black scales. On the other side weights would be added and the potatoes and carrots and broccoli would rise upwards and you could see them balance. What drama! It beats a digital readout any day.
At one time you could put money in the scales, too. A particularly large sum was called a talent. It was worth in today’s money as much as $1.25 million dollars. It weighed a lot too! You can see how the meaning of talent changed - with the gold leaning heavily on one side of the scales. Soon a talent became a leaning or inclination and then it became an aptitude or skill. When Jesus spoke about talents he just meant money.
One of his concerns was what people thought when he spoke about the kingdom. It was coming; there was a sense of urgency about it and there were things to be done. Others thought though, well if the kingdom is coming soon we may as well hang our boots up, have a glass of pinot grigio and wait for it to happen. And the urgency disappeared.
So Jesus spoke his parable of the talents. The master gave one servant ten talents, another five and another one. The first two made excellent use of what they had been given. The third servant sat on it, or at least buried it in the ground, and got a right rollicking for his laziness. For me, this is Jesus saying, Don’t lose your sense of urgency! There are, after all, still some scales heavily stacked against the wrong people and in God’s kingdom that shouldn’t happen.
Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 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. The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
Lord, some of us like a glass of wine every now and again. It’s when we can have time for ourselves and relax. Can’t we just enjoy it and pick up the urgency later? Amen.