Matthew 25:14-30 – “You’re Fired!” The Caramel of the Toe Nails

caramel of the talonsReflecting and Doing

This sketch is a fun way to look at some of the unspoken assumptions we might have about this parable in our money-focussed, profit-driven culture. Was Jesus telling a story about The Apprentice?

Characters:

Cracker – a puppet bird, needs to have feet

Pop – actor or puppet

“You’re Fired!” The Caramel of the Toe Nails

[Cracker is licking his feet]

Pop:     Cracker, Cracker! Whatever are you doing? Why are you licking your feet?

Cra:     I’m trying to get the caramel.

Pop:     Caramel? Why do you think there is caramel on your feet?

Cra:     It’s in the Bible.

Pop:     Really? The Bible says you have caramel on your feet?

Cra:     Yes. It’s in ‘The Caramel of the Toe Nails’.

Pop:     The Caramel of the Toe Nails? I don’t think I know that bit of the Bible.

Cra:     Sure you do. The Caramel of the Toe Nails. It’s a story that Jesus told. You know, the story-with-a-meaning thing.

Pop:     Ahhhh – you mean a parable. A parable, not a caramel!

Cra:     Right. That makes more sense, and it explains why my toe nails don’t taste much like caramel. [still licking]

Pop:     No. I expect they don’t … so you can stop licking them now.

Cra:     Oh. Right. yes.

Pop:     OK, so now we’ve established it’s a parable, not a caramel, what’s with the toe nails? I think we might be a bit mixed up on that as well.

Cra:     Oh, no. It’s definitely about toe nails. It’s the parable where Jesus tells the sheep and the goats to come down from the tree so that the bridesmaids can get oil. And the birds carry the jars of oil with their toe-nails.

Pop:     [light dawns] Ahh. Birds’ toe nails. Do you mean, their talons?

Cra:     Yeah, that’s right. The Parable of the Talons.

Pop:     Cracker, it’s the Parable of the Talents. Not talons.

Cra:     Oh. So it’s nothing to do with my feet, then?

Pop:     Nope.

Cra:     And no caramel?

Pop:     Nope.

Cra:     OK. So what’s this about talents? Was Jesus doing like The X-Factor and kicking out the people who weren’t good enough?

Pop:     Not really. It’s not that kind of talent. A talent is a big bag of gold from Bible times.

Cra:     Oh, I know which parable you mean now. The boss guy goes away and gives his servants big bags of money to look after.

Pop:     Yes, that’s the one.

Cra:     So it’s not The X-Factor …

Pop:     No, it isn’t.

Cra:     … it’s ‘The Apprentice’!
Yes, that’s it! One servant made loads of money and the boss was pleased and gave him a swanky car and yacht and a gold-plated helicopter with diamonds and stuff …

Pop:     Err, no. That’s not …

Cra:     And another did OK-ish and the boss was kind of, “Meh, well that’s alright I suppose”, and gave him a packet of biscuits.

Pop:     Not really. I think …

Cra:     And the last servant tried and tried his best, but he just wasn’t as good as the others. So the boss went, “You’re fired”, and booted him out ‘cos no-one likes losers. And it all goes to show that God likes people who make a load of money. Yes?

Pop:     No! That’s not what Jesus was talking about at all! How could you get it so wrong?

Cra:     So it wasn’t like that?

Pop:     Well, you got one bit right. The third servant got fired, but it wasn’t because of the money. It was his attitude.

Cra:     His hat-he-chewed? He chewed his master’s hat? Well no wonder he was gnashing his teeth at the end of the story. He’d have to get all the bits of hat out of his teeth.

Pop:     No. Not his hat-he-chewed, his attitude. The servant didn’t even try to look after his master’s money. In fact, he went to all the trouble of digging a hole to hide it instead of putting the money in a bank, which would have been the easiest thing to do. It was like he did badly on purpose, like he was working against the master.

Cra:     Oh right. I getcha. So this wasn’t like he got the sack because he didn’t make his sales target, then?

Pop:     No. God’s kingdom doesn’t work like that. We don’t have to earn God’s favour by doing well.

Cra:     You sure about that? What about the first two servants?

Pop:     I’m sure. Why don’t you pretend to be one of the servants, and I’ll be the boss.

Cra:     OK. I’ll be the servant with loads of money first.
Welcome home, your bossy-ness. You left me with £100,000 and I’ve made another £100,000.

Pop:     Well done, that’s great! Come and join the celebration.

Cra:     Thank you. I don’t mind if I do. I’ll be the second servant now.
Welcome home, your bossy-ness. You left me with £100 and I’ve made another £100.

Pop:     Well done, that’s great! Come and join the celebration.

Cra:     I’m liking this.  I’ll do the third servant now.
Welcome home, your bossy-ness. You left me with £1 and … I don’t think I did very well. Not like the others, anyway.

Pop:     Don’t worry about comparing yourself with them. Just let me know what you did with what I gave you.

Cra:     Well, I’m not very good with business, being a bird and all. So I just put it in the bank. But what with the low interest rates and having to pay tax and everything … here’s your pound back. Sorry. I tried. I’ll go and clear my desk now.

Pop:     Well done, that’s great! Come and join the celebration.

Cra:     Really? I get to go to the party?

Pop:     Yep. There’s plenty of food for all.

Cra:      Will there be caramel toe-nails?

Pop:     Doh!

Reading

For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money.

Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’

And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’

He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’

But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 

Credits

English Standard Version

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.


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