Friday, 29 August 2008

TEE Course: Parables of Jesus - Part 3: The Parable of An Inculpatory Servant and A Gracious Master

Since I will soon be teaching a course on the Parables of Jesus for our Theological Education by Extension programme, I thought that it might be good for me to attempt to write a parable as well.

The following parable is inspired by many personal encounters with believers who question God or others for the consequences of their actions. Sometimes it is sad that we refuse to take responsibilities for our mistakes, weaknesses, and failures; rather, we find it much easier and convenient to point our fingers at others.

Parable of An Inculpatory Servant and A Gracious Master

How then shall I describe our relationship with God or with one another? It is like a slave that works for a very wealthy master. One day, the master discovers that the slave has stolen some money from the safe, and he questions the slave about the theft. The slave denies any knowledge until the master produces the evidence as recorded in the CCTV. However, instead of dismissing the slave, the kind master graciously decides to give the slave a second chance to work for him, hoping that the slave would have an opportunity to repent from his serious mistake and would turn over a new leaf and become a better person instead.

A few weeks have passed, and the master discovers to his horror that the slave has once again stolen some money from the safe. The master confronts the slave, but as in the first instance, the slave denies any knowledge, refusing to admit his acts of dishonesty. When the evidence of his dishonest act as recorded in the CCTV is brought forward, the slave becomes very angry and upset at the master for exposing his deeds and for dismissing him from his job.

Not only does he not repent from his sins, the slave decides to engage a lawyer to sue the master for an amount of RM10 million for installing the CCTV with the purpose of surveillance in order to expose his shame. Now that his reputation has been seriously undermined and the prospect of finding a job elsewhere appears dim, the slave also demands another RM10 million in compensation from the master for potential loss of income.

What is the main point of this parable, taking into account the culture and custom of an Asian society than places emphasis on honour and shame?

How many of us, instead of taking responsibility, would blame God and our fellow brethren for our sins and the consequences of our actions?


Sze Zeng said...

A good one.

As I read it, I was confronted by the fact of how ridiculous the servant is.... it dawn on me that sometimes I can be that ridiculous too...

Kar Yong said...

Hi Sze Zeng,

Well...that's what parables are meant to be! We see how ridiculous we can be at times...

Alex Tang said...


In our culture..
(1) the servant will probably not engage a lawyer but get the help of a Tai Kor to threaten the master,

(2) the master would have made a police report, the servant arrested and released on bail, and remain free as his trial is repeatedly postponed by his lawyer

(3) the master should have changed the combination to his safe after the first theft.

Moral of the parable?

Beware of shameless people who will bite the hand that feeds them

Kar Yong said...

Hi Alex,
Thanks for your input. Very interesting comments. I particularly like how you read this in our own context.