2/15/12 Sheldon, Dangel early 20's
What would two college students from China think about the Parable of the Talents? Dangel and Sheldon (their westernized names) grew up under communist ideology with no exposure or knowledge of any religions, only faith in what can be scientifically proven. They had never heard of the Ten Commandments, never read a Bible, and when told that the parable had been taught by Jesus, I had to explain who He was. They agreed to give their opinions about the parable, which they did, generally agreeing that the master in the parable had acted cruelly to his servants in two ways - by not giving them equal "talents" (resources) to begin with, and by punishing the third servant for not producing a profit. I went on to ask what they would think of God if this parable described Him. They seemed genuinely surprised, like they have never considered the idea of "God" before. We talked about more than the obvious injustice - how if there is an ultimate Creator God, he would be the owner/master of all things; how He would be the giver of all things and ultimately we would only be stewards or managers of "our" possessions rather than owners; how He would have the right to hold us accountable for what we do with the resources that He provides and would have every right to reward or punish us; and how an all-knowing God would know our thoughts and intentions and could tell if we give an honest effort or are truly just being lazy. Whew! These are important lessons to begin to teach when talking to people of an entirely different world view. I think Dangel and Sheldon gained a very different perspective of Christianity than they might otherwise encounter in our culture. I hope this Jesus compels them to keep learning about Him.