Did the “worthless slave” know the story of the foolish bridesmaids? When they did not preserve the oil for their lamps, the women were locked out of the party. We could understand why, if the slave knew that story, he would focus on preserving his money. But now he is locked out while the bridesmaids cry until their mascara runs, and all gnash their teeth.
Elections produce overwhelming hope or overwhelming disappointment. On the Wednesday morning after a national election, one half of the country wakes up disappointed with the other half. If it’s our candidate who’s won, we celebrate the new day dawning. In defeat we ruminate, despairing for the future and wondering bitterly about fraud.
Jesus called the young ruler to a new kind of material life, a life given to serving the poor with the “materials” of tears, blood and sweat. Clearly, this life is not marked by the kinds of happiness used to sell goods. But we do honor Jesus’ call in our culture when we honor volunteers and all those who serve others.