Barbara Brown Taylor takes a different and very timely look at the parable of the talents found in Matthew 25:14-30. The full text can be found here but an excerpt is given below the video.
“In Jesus’ day, a talent weighed between 80 and 130 pounds and was worth roughly twenty years’ worth of an ordinary person’s labor. The only people who had that kind of money were the wealthy elite, whose households were the basic economic units of the time. How did they get the money? The usual ways: they engaged in trade, got goods to market, ran import-export businesses, lent money to people at interest—especially land-poor people who often had trouble trying to make ends meet at the end of a long drought, or a catastrophic illness in the family.
Wealthy householders were happy to help out in circumstances like those. There was nothing to it: if you were strapped for cash, you got the best interest rate you could, you put up your land as collateral, and you got busy bringing in the sheaves. By the time you noticed what 60% interest really meant, it was too late. Your land went into foreclosure, and quicker than you
could say, “Leviticus” it was not yours anymore–but that did not always mean you had to leave. You could also stay, as long as you were willing to work for your former lender—and if you could stand to watch your family’s fields re-purposed as olive groves, or vineyards—something more easily monetized, that would appeal to a more upscale market at home and abroad.
(Is anything sounding familiar here?)