Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping 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. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest.
* * * * * *
The slave in the story perceives the master as harsh and unfair. He is afraid but that fear doesn't compel him to do more than careful risk management. If he can give back the same amount he was given, that is playing it safe with this mercurial master. His expectation of being treated unfairly drove his despair that anything he could do would change anything. The master comes off as greedy and living up to the slave's cruel expectations in the end. However, the other two slaves in the story do not share the same opinion of the master. We don't know what those slaves thought of the master. What we do know is that they acted out of the extension of the grace given to them. They were given much and they generated much in their actions born of gratitude. Think about it. There are people in our lives who we expect as being cruel and so we don't do much beyond the minimum effort. There are other people who by their love and grace are catalysts for bringing out the best in us. Who we perceived God to be affects how we choose to respond to the gifts we have been given and our acts of grace toward others. Who is God to you?
* * * * * *
May I act this day, O Lord, on the grace I have been given. Amen.