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Just deserts

July 27, 2017

It’s amazing how deep and thorough God’s justice will be in the final reckoning, especially as illustrated in the parable of the 10 minas (it should probably be called the parable of ‘the just deserts!’). This is how it goes:

A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then return. It appears he was confident of the bet despite some rabble rousers at home! Smart guy. So he called 3 of his servants (not ministers) and gave them each about 3 months’ wages (i.e. a mina – hence the name of the parable) asking them to do business with it and therefore multiply the money.

No sooner had he left, his opportunistic ministers (it appears these were privileged ones, not the servants who were given the minas) immediately tried to have the noble man ousted from his position. Crooks!

The noble man who knew what he was about, came back as king however.

He first called the servants to whom he’d given the minas.

The first one came and gave him back 10 minas in return! Way to go! TEN MINAS FOR JUST ONE HE GOT!?! Pleased, the king patted him with a ‘Well done, my good servant!’ And guess what he gave this man in return? TEN HUGE CITIES to administer in his new kingdom!! Woah! Honesty repaid beyond all expectation!

The second one came and gave him 5. Hmm…okay, decent enough! Could’ve done better, for there was one who could get 10. But happens. So here goes, he got his pat and 5 cities. Nice!

The last one came and gave back the same old mina. With an ingenious story besides! So he began, ‘Sir, here is you mina; I have kept it laid away in a cloth. I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man (what a lie when two others could do sooo much with it!). You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.’ Eyes wide in bewilderment surely the king stood motionless: What an evil guy!! He’s been lazy for sure, and is caught for his unfaithfulness, but worst of all he is blaming me myself for his dishonesty! What nerve! So he regained his composure and spoke rather angrily but wisely: ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’ And raising his voice he bellowed to those near the liar, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’

‘What?’ those people wondered! ‘Why? But that guy already got so much for what he did!’ So they muttered: He’s got 10! Why not give it to the man with 5 cities? Afterall he might be even be free enough to spend this money usefully?

The wise king replied even more wisely: ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away.’ Fair enough, but more than that, so true to life! For the one who was most hardworking will also be the most likely candidate to get the most even out of this single leftover mina.

And he thundered not fully done with the backlog: ‘But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be a king over them – bring them here and kill them in front of me.’ Abundantly fair for their callous evil against a just man.

Just deserts: meticulous and deep, supremely appropriate and generous. Abundant good for little good, and equally abundant payback for every evil: even ‘in good measure, pressed down and overflowing, cast into the lap.’

Ha ha.

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