Live by the Spirit: The Eighth Commandment
Today we hear two parables from Jesus which appear to have very different perspectives on life in the Kingdom of God. The “Parable of the Talents” will appeal to the heart of the capitalist while the “Parable of the Sheep and the Goats” will appeal to the socialist. The first one (“Talents”) declares a blessing and reward for industry, hard work, and the creation of wealth, while condemning laziness. The second one (“Sheep and Goats”) declares blessing and reward for those who feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and show hospitality to the stranger, while condemning those who fail to help “one of the least of these”.
However, these parables are not necessarily the opposite of each other. Both of them are speaking to God’s will for our lives in the Eighth Commandment where God says in Exodus 20:15, “You shall not steal”. That’s the commandment stated in the negative. In Ephesians 4:28 we hear it stated positively when the apostle writes, “He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.” In the Law given on Mount Sinai, the Lord said, “Do not steal.” Jesus now says to us, “Give of yourself.”