The 2009 Parable of the Talents

“Once upon a time, a man went on a journey, and summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey.

The one who had received five talents went off right away and put his money to work in a Wall Street investment bank speculating in complex derivatives.

In the same way, the one who had two took out a negative-amortization, stated income subprime mortgage on a McMansion.

But the one who had received one talent went out and invested in a money market account, which dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money in it, earning only 2% a year.

After a long time, the master of those slaves came and settled his accounts with them. The one who had received the five talents came and brought five more, saying, ‘Sir, you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’ His master answered, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave! You have been faithful in a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master.’

"Well, actually, that was last year's statement, master. I took a bonus of 3 talents, and so you only had 7. And then, in turned out those derivative investments that were a sure thing? Well, they weren't so sure after all. So, after the losses got written down, your 7 leftover talent now have a value of -2."

The one with the two talents also came and said, ‘Sir, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more.’ Feeling a little relieved, his master answered, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave! You have been faithful with a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master.’

"Well, actually, that was the value of the house in 2006. The mortgage reset in 2008 and I couldn't possibly afford the new mortgage payment. The house is in foreclosure and truth be told, the mortage is worth more than the equity, so instead of 4 talents, you have -1."

Slack-jawed, the Master turned to the final slave. The one who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Sir, I knew that you were a hard man, harvesting where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours, with 2% interest per annum.'

But his master answered, ‘Evil and lazy slave! So you knew that I harvest where I didn’t sow and gather where I didn’t scatter? Can't you see that the other two slaves before you have made me insolvent, and need to be Bailed Out? Therefore take the talent from him and give it to the one who formerly had ten, before the account was marked to market. "Here is your Bailout! Come back anytime you need more!" For the one who has will be given more, and he will have more than enough.

But the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken from him and given over to the Bailout. And, oh by the way, now that the two other slaves have made me insolvent, I need to downsize. Therefore you are laid off! Throw that worthless slave into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

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Comments

That parable always confused me anyway

since I never thought of Yahweh as "reaping where he did not sow".....but it sure fits most of the investors in the stock market, doesn't it? Especially day traders.

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Maximum jobs, not maximum profits.

IMO the traditional reading is backwards

The traditional reading on this is that Christ's followers are supposed to go out and find more followers, and if they don't, well then it's the outer darkness, wailing and gnashing of teeth for them.

But this really sounds like the way a tyrant operates, not a benevolent Father, and i think this is actually a story about the way money works. IOW, in my opinion it should be read somewhat literally. There's a number of parables that say some pretty odd things about God the Father -- if that is to whom they are indeed referring (the Wedding Guests, the Ten Virgins with Lamps, the Vineyard Workers, and so on) that might instead make more sense if they are simply basic consciousness-raising on the unfairness of living in a society driven by money and power.

In that light, this 2009 version is perhaps not that far at all from the original meaning.

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