I was listening to a sermon yesterday.
The sermon quoted a lengthy section of the Gospel according to Matthew, where three servants are given their master’s wealth to look after whilst he is on travels.
Two of the servants increase their master’s wealth, whilst one digs a hole and buries it. The latter doesn’t like his master very much, y’see.
When the master returns, he rewards the slaves who increased his wealth and punishes the one who buried it.
Supposedly, it was a story about those who work hard to make wealth for their employer get rewarded, whilst those who don’t get thrown out.
Honest work and faithful service is rewarded, whilst the lazy and surly get punished.
I heard it a different way.
I heard it as those who make money through investing wisely get rewarded more than those who don’t.
And isn’t that what banking is all about?
Banks and bankers are here to invest our resources wisely.
The ones who make the most out of those investments get rewarded the most, whilst the ones who mess up get thrown out.
So why is it we have a problem with bankers bonuses?
After all, if the Bible says it’s ok, then it’s ok isn’t it?
If you want to make your own mind up, here's the passage used for the sermon:
For it is like a man going on a journey, who summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them.
To one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey.
The one who had received five talents went off right away and put his money to work and gained five more.
In the same way, the one who had two gained two more.
But the one who had received one talent went out and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money in it.
After a long time, the master of those slaves came and settled his accounts with them.
The one who had received the five talents came and brought five more, saying, ‘Sir, you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’
His master answered, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave! You have been faithful in a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master.’
The one with the two talents also came and said, ‘Sir, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more.’
His master answered, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave! You have been faithful with a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master.’
Then the one who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Sir, I knew that you were a hard man, harvesting 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. See, you have what is yours.’
But his master answered, ‘Evil and lazy slave! So you knew that I harvest where I didn’t sow and gather where I didn’t scatter? Then you should have deposited my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received my money back with interest!
‘Therefore take the talent from him and give it to the one who has ten. For the one who has will be given more, and he will have more than enough. But the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless slave into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth’