Signpost 19th November, 2017: Judges 4:1-7; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11; Matthew 25:14-30.
The parable of the talents, in Matthew, according to a commentary on my shelf, is one of three parables of judgement. The message of the parable seems to be interpreted in the following way. Jesus was speaking to the people of his time, and letting them know that they had been given something valuable, but were keeping it hidden, and this was an unacceptable attitude, which led inexorably to punishment. Therefore, in a similar way we, who have the good news of Jesus Christ entrusted to us, must not keep it hidden.
The same sort of system of judgement and retribution seems to be working at the beginning of the passage from Judges, where the people again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord… so the Lord sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan.
But I wonder if there is something else which is implicit in both the parable and the story from Judges: choices have real consequences.
There is a covenant between Israel and God, and a choice to move away from it had real results, just as a choice to return to it had real results.
In the parable the servants were entrusted with something valuable, to use it for its owner. The choices they made had results, they were not protected from the consequences of their own decisions.
Archbishop Rowan Williams made the point that God loves us enough to allow our choices to have real results.