Category Archives: Global Higher Ed

Jakarta, Indonesia: IWU’s Newest Alumni Chapter

IWU - Indonesia GraduationTwelve teachers at IPEKA Integrated Christian School in Indonesia have something new to hang on their office walls: Indiana Wesleyan University diplomas. And more IWU diplomas are destined for the world’s largest island nation.

Several years ago when I began to cast the vision of IWU as a global Christian learning community little did I know that our learning community would include Indonesia.  One of the highlights of the past year was the lunch I shared with these IWU students as they talked about what this opportunity meant to them.

Dr. Brock Reiman flew to the Indonesian capital city of Jakarta in early October to present Master of Education diplomas in person to the first group of teachers to complete the two-year graduate course.  Another 24 teachers at the school are enrolled in the program and will graduate in 2018.

Reiman is IWU’s Vice President for Academic Affairs in the College of Adult and Professional Studies.

The initial relationship between IWU and IPEKA grew out of a friendship between administrators at the two schools, Dr. Bridget Aitchison at IWU and Dr. Janet Nason at IPEKA. The schools signed an agreement in 2014 to offer the master’s class in Jakarta.

Classes were taught both online and onsite, with IWU faculty members traveling to Jakarta to teach some courses. As part of their studies, teachers enrolled in the program were required to complete – and implement – an action research project that addressed an education-related issue in their school.

The graduate class is a first step in what IWU and IPEKA administrators hope will be a growing relationship between the two schools.

On October 31, a team from the IWU admissions office traveled to Jakarta to participate in a college fair for students at IPEKA School. Reiman said several students from the Indonesian school already attend American colleges, but none of them yet at IWU’s undergraduate programs.

The IPEKA Integrated Christian School, which has 1,200 students enrolled in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, is part of a family of Indonesian schools based in the Jakarta area but with schools on other islands.

Dr. William Ho, a Chinese pastor who said he could not find any Christian schools for his children to attend, established the foundation that owns and operates the schools. The first school opened in 1979 with five teachers and 100 students. The foundation now has 12 schools with over 11,000 students and 1,100 teachers and staff.

IPEKA Integrated Christian School opened in 1999 in a modern, high-rise building in Jakarta. “All of their campuses are top-notch,” Reiman said.

The Republic of Indonesia, which consists of 13,000 islands, is the fourth most populated country in the world with 260 million people. Jakarta, with a population of 9.5 million, is the largest city in Indonesia.

(David Wright and Alan Miller)

Excelsia College Dedicates New Campus in Sydney

Last week I had the privilege of participating in the grand opening of the new campus of Excelsia College, IWU’s sister institution in Sydney, Australia.

Australia occupies a place of strategic importance in Asia.  It is the third most popular higher education destination for international students after the United States and the United Kingdom.

Christian schooling in Australia is surging in popularity among Christian and non-Christian families as they look for values-based alternatives within their secular culture.

While Christian schools are growing, Australian Christians feel the need for strong Christian higher education institutions.  Our partnership with Excelsia College was born out of our common desire to create a global Christian learning community, with a strong presence in this most important region of the globe.

IWU - David Wright

IWU President, Dr. David Wright

Dr. John Collier, a well-known and respected Australian Christian educator, brought the keynote address for the grand opening of our new campus.  His speech was a thought-provoking reminder of the nature and critical importance of the mission on which we have embarked together.

Here are some excerpts:

“If [the] comprehensive propagation and integration of Christian faith is important, and I believe it is of critical importance, then the seminal work of Excelsia becomes clear.

This College is one of the only Tertiary providers operating in this domain. There has indeed been a real deficit in the country. Overseas, notably in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and The Netherlands, Christian Universities with the mission of comprehensive equipping of students for vocation and all of life have thrived. Ironically, in this country, and particularly here in Sydney, we have been theologically strong but institutionally weak. Indeed, to provide credibility and full access to the promotion of the Gospel through Higher Education, it is critical that this country have a Christian University which has the authority and capacity to spawn and nourish research degrees. Jesus needs a place in the Academy! These Christian researchers can then be charged with a vital task of taking forward our understanding of Christian faith and culture, and the role of Higher Education in forming these, in ways which are contextually Australian.

It is essential Christians enter this cultural dialogue at the highest level. Unless we do so we will be largely responsible for our own silence.

. . . .

IWU - Excelsia College

Excelsia College Dedicates New Campus in Sydney, Australia

The call then to Excelsia is to do something different: as James K. Smith in Desiring the Kingdom notes, it will not be enough for a budding Christian University to produce professionals who do pretty much the same sorts of things that graduates of Ivy League and state universities do, … students equipped to take up vocations and careers that are largely the same as the graduates of the state university down the road (page 218).

No, Excelsia must be distinctively Christian. To be so, it must attack the dualism of much Christian thinking which restricts faith to liturgical and pietistic activities, which consign faith to everyday irrelevance. As David Wells has written in Above All Earthly Pow’rs, in modern societies, God has been excluded from public life, pushed to the margins of relevance, and made to live out his life, as it were, underground and out of sight. (page 27).

. . . .

It is the role of Excelsia to redeem this situation, to enter the fray of secular humanism for the Gospel, to chastise, prod, badger and educate Christians out of the reductionist theologies of dualism or pietistic withdrawal from the world.

. . . . 

IWU Excelsia College

Excelsia College students

Excelsia’s work is therefore vast and challenging. As David Wells says the Enlightenment has produced great dismay in its postmodern inheritors…the human spirit has been overtaken by the anonymity of today’s mass society, by mindless fads and fashions, by a world emptied out of significance and filled instead with banality (page 30).

. . . .

Hence I return to the idea that Excelsia must be distinctively different and powerfully Christian, in a situation where, as David Wells observes commenting on the Western World,

In our own private universes, we are free of external constraints, free of social custom, free of the past, free of values we ourselves have not selected and in that selection authenticated, and free of all beliefs which are incompatible with our internally constructed world of meaning. We have all become free in a most radical way, and in that radical posture we have become as light as a feather (page 238).

Dr. John Collier

Dr. John Collier, keynote speaker

So then we come to this new dawn for Excelsia, where it ceases being Bedouin, the saddles of the camel bags have been unpacked and everything is nicely stowed in the Temple. Excelsia College is called to a radical discipleship where we might appropriate the words of Paul and say that it is a time of a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:17-18).

On then, Excelsia, to excelsius! But be careful! The path of Christian Universities is eventually littered with apostasy, and that is why on days like this I wear my Harvard tie, to remind us.

On then to the equipping and unleashing of students to be transformed for Christ as indeed the Academy itself is transformed, in turn benefiting the world.

Congratulations on this new beginning!”

Dr. John Collier
Head of School, St Andrew’s Cathedral School

Fulfilled Alumni Dream Left Me Speechless

The phone call brought back hazy memories from our shared college days.  I hadn’t known Francis Mustapha well in those days.  But I knew he had an interesting story coming from Sierra Leone in the 1970s to attend Marion College.

We hadn’t spoken much over the years so when he asked to meet with me I wasn’t sure what to expect.  The story he unfolded for me, and the pictures he showed me, left me speechless.

IWU - Madina Village School

Bobbie Mustapha conducts a workshop for teachers at Madina Village School.

Francis and his wife, Bobbie, graduated from IWU in the 1970s and both taught school for 30-plus years – mostly in the Fort Wayne public schools. During his career, Francis received several national and state honors for teaching – including the prestigious Milken National Educator Award.

In September 2013, the Mustaphas fulfilled a life-long dream of opening a school in the village of Madina, Sierra Leone, where Francis was reared. At least once a year, Francis and Bobbie travel there to help get the school year off to a good start.

Here is a report on their most recent trip to the Madina Village School:

“Our trip was the shortest ever, but in three and a half weeks we were able to experience the school full of children and to hold in-service training for teachers on topics such as using Big Books, writing in the reading program, efficiency of time in the classroom and even the first basic lesson in how to use a computer.

“To do the computer session of the workshop we had to string power cords from a generator and had lights in one room of the building for the very first time. It brought great satisfaction for us two ‘techno-idiots’ to have had 20 staff members on nine computers for the evening without anything breaking down!

“Someday we hope to have solar panels on the roof to power some technology for the school. That is a project still in the dreaming stage.”

How much do the people in the small village appreciate the Mustaphas? Read on.

IWU - Mustapha

Francis and Bobbie Mustapha greet children at Madina Village School in Sierra Leone.

“The school held a surprise assembly welcoming us back. It was especially moving for Bobbie, who was presented with a special handmade gown and given a new name, Munjei (pronounced moon-jay), which means ‘our mother.’ The children all began using that name immediately, so now it feels like having 300 sons and daughters.”

Improved technology is not Sierra Leone’s most critical need, however.

“A nation is hanging in the balance,” Francis wrote. “There is a battle raging for the very soul of the Nation of Sierra Leone and many countries in Africa for that matter. We cannot lose the battle. It has to be fought on all fronts.”

As we navigate our way through the technology-dependent world in which we live, it is heartwarming to celebrate the accomplishments of Indiana Wesleyan University alumni toiling in areas of the world that are devoid of even basic technology.

We thank God for alumni such as Francis and Bobbie Mustapha who are serving on the frontlines.

IWU Extends Its Service to Caribbean Island

Indiana Wesleyan University diplomas now hang on the walls of 77 new alumni in the island nations of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Two IWU administrators, Dr. Brock Reiman and Dr. Bob Brumley, traveled to the Caribbean nations in early October to present the diplomas.

When I was 28 years old, and just starting my career, God led Helen and me to serve in Haiti.  I was given the privilege of working with Haitian and American colleagues to reopen a Bible college in Petit Goave.  It was one of the great ministry experiences of my young career.  After all these years it is especially rewarding to see IWU serve church and school leaders in this part of the world.

Sixty-four students in Haiti graduated, 29 of them with Master of Education degrees and 35 of them with Master of Theological Studies degrees.   Thirteen students in the Dominican Republic received Master of Education degrees.

Dr. Bob Brumley (left, front) and Dr. Brock Reiman (right, front) traveled to the Dominican Republic to present IWU Master of Education diplomas to 13 students.

Dr. Bob Brumley (left, front) and Dr. Brock Reiman (right, front) traveled to the Dominican Republic to present IWU Master of Education diplomas to 13 students.

“There were about 200 people in attendance at the ceremony in the Dominican Republic, and the atmosphere was electric,” said Dr. Reiman. “The students’ gratitude was readily apparent, and the linkage IWU can have for future generations of teachers and schools there was undeniable.”

About 400 people attended the graduation ceremony in Haiti. “The pride, thankfulness and appreciation were palpable. These degrees truly are a means of bringing empowerment and hope to people who have to struggle daily with tremendous adversity,” Dr. Reiman said.

Dr. Reiman is Vice President for Academic Affairs in IWU’s College of Adult and Professional Studies. Dr. Brumley is Director of Global Academic Programs at IWU.

About 400 people attended an IWU graduation ceremony in Haiti where 64 students received diplomas.

About 400 people attended an IWU graduation ceremony in Haiti where 64 students received diplomas.

The two administrators gave each graduate a card bearing IWU’s verse for the current academic year:

As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. (1 Peter 4:10)

“Graduates, you have been gifted to serve. You have been given great gifts from our Heavenly Father to serve others for his purposes,” Dr. Reiman told the students. “So my challenge to you today is to go out with the gift of your education and know that as Indiana Wesleyan University world changers, you have been gifted to serve.”

Indiana Wesleyan University is a global Christian learning community.

IWU Convocation Bestows Honors and Highlights New Details on Partnership

Tony Maidenberg Award Recipient

_JN_5045What a true honor it was this week to present Alex Huskey the 2014 Tony Maidenberg Award for community service in front of IWU faculty and staff during Indiana Wesleyan University’s annual back-to-school convocation.

Pastor Huskey has nearly 25 years of experience in law enforcement, first as a member of the Marion Police Department, and in recent years, as the superintendent of the Indiana Excise Police and the chairman of the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission. He also has served as the pastor of New Bethany Church of God in Christ since 2007, and previously served as the associate pastor of the church for 20 years.

Alex has been immersed in the highest forms of community service and he exemplifies all that the Tony Maidenberg award represents. I look forward to our continued association as he begins a new form of service as the President of the Marion campus of Ivy Tech community college.

And congratulations also to the many faculty and staff who were recognized for their outstanding achievements and service to IWU.

Read the full story here.

IWU Formalizes Partnership with Australia Campus

WI-to-ExcelsiaIt was also my distinct pleasure to announce the partnership between IWU and Wesley Institute in Sydney, Australia, making their global Christian learning community a reality. Wesley Institute and IWU formalized on August 5, a partnership by which Wesley Institute seeks to become the foundation for the first global Christian university in Australia with plans to develop multiple campuses across the Asia Pacific region.

Wesley Institute is a leading Christian college in Australia – celebrating over 30 years of operation in higher education. Indiana Wesleyan University has 94 years of experience in Christ-centred higher education. Combined, we have the expertise to roll out Christian higher education across a broader range of undergraduate and postgraduate areas. In coming weeks, an application will be lodged with TEQSA for registration of Wesley Institute as a University College.  Subsequently the college plans to apply for registration as an Australian University.

Also, in January 2015, Wesley Institute will change its name to Excelsia College.  Excelsia, ‘a community where people excel’, embodies the institution’s passion for the pursuit of academic, artistic and professional excellence within a Christian environment. It is anticipated that Wesley Institute will relocate to a new campus in 2015. New courses could be offered as early as Semester 1, 2016.

I’m so grateful for Professor Bridget Aitchison, Vice Chancellor for Asia-Pacific and for Wesley Institute Chief Executive, Dr Greg Rough and his team. My prayer is that their diligent efforts reap rewards with God’s abundant blessing. What a privilege it is to co-labor across continents for the furthering of His kingdom.

Read the full story here.

Don’t Give Fear the Final Word: Part 3 of 3

This week I am posting a speech I delivered at the May 3 graduation event at Wesley Institute in Sydney, Australia. IWU recently struck an agreement to acquire WI and work with them to create the first evangelical Christian university in Australia.

The manuscript has been lightly edited for blog publication. Part one appeared on Monday, and part two appeared on Wednesday.

Principle #3 — Don’t Give Fear The Last Word

Photo: Alan Cleaver

Photo: Alan Cleaver

The third employee in Jesus’ Parable of the Talents is fascinating. I must admit, all too often I resemble the third employee more than the first two.

This employee puts his master’s goodness in a secret place “to keep it safe.” There it languishes.

There is nothing wrong in the motivation to keep a precious asset safe. The problem is that this employee neither understands his master nor the nature of the master’s wealth.

He thinks his master is a “hard man” because he expects his wealth to multiply. He thinks his master’s wealth is “inert” in itself, that if it multiplies it will be through someone else’s effort.

The problem is that the servant does not understand the nature of the master’s wealth. The master knows that the only thing his employees have to do is use his wealth. The wealth will multiply itself because that is the nature of the wealth.

This employee does the one thing that he should not do – he hides the wealth.

The goodness of this world, including the monetary wealth of this world, is not meant to be hidden or hoarded. To do so violates the nature of the goodness.

The world’s goodness is to be set free, invested, put to use. This is the way that God has designed the world’s goodness. It is like a natural seed. When it is put to use it multiplies. When it is hoarded it dies.

Several sad consequences emerge from this employee’s misguided action.

One is that he himself lost the benefit of his master’s goodness. When he hid it, it was lost to his own use. It was locked away safe in a secret hold.

Another is that those around him lost the benefit of his master’s goodness. It was locked away safe, lost to the use of those who needed it.

It turns out that the greatest risk we can take with the goodness of this world is to keep it locked away safely, to hide it, to leave it unused.

What motivated this employee to act in this way? The employee himself gives us the answer.

When he is called to give an account for his actions he said, “I was afraid.”

Friends, when we are faced with the opportunity to use what is in our account, we will struggle with two internal voices.

In one ear we will hear the voice that urges us forward: “Take the risk. Put the goodness in your account to use. Now is the time. Speak the word. Do the act of kindness. Use your creativity to suggest a solution, or create a ministry, or launch a business that will bless others. Say the word of kindness even while anger is still in the air. Offer forgiveness when hearts are still hard.”

In the other ear we will hear a fearful voice that urges caution: “Take care. Be careful now. Don’t do anything rash. You don’t know for sure what will happen. Don’t be wasteful. Wait for a better time. Try something more prudent. What will you do if you fail?”

The first is the voice of this life’s grand adventure.

The other is the voice of this life’s great fear.

Cl

Photo: Romary (License)

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said this about another of Jesus’ stories – the story of the Good Samaritan.

“The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man what will happen to me?’ But the Good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?’”

The spirit of fear says, “What will happen to me if I take the risk?” Fear freezes our best intentions.

The spirit of adventure says, “What will happen to the world if I don’t take the risk?” Adventure frees our best assets to make a difference in the world.

Don’t give fear the final word.

Principle #4: Stay for the Party!

The fourth principle I notice here is that these employees remained faithful until their master returned. Because they did, they were invited to the party.

All too often our attempts to put the world’s goodness to work are short-lived. We lose interest before the game is won. We lose patience before the problem is solved. We expect more of a reward until the final party is called.

But these employees kept on putting their master’s goods even when his journey stretched far longer than they might have expected. They put his wealth to use and kept on multiplying the good at their disposal, right up until the day their master returned.

When he did, he gave them their reward and said, “Come on into my house and let’s have a party.”

Stay for the party!

Here, then, are three amazing facts and four wise principles.

The world is full of God’s goodness.

The world’s goodness can be multiplied.

The world’s goodness is entrusted to us.

So . . . .

Use what’s in your account.

Don’t wait to be great.

Don’t give fear the final word.

Stay for the party.

In conclusion, let us remember this great aspiration in the words of Edward Hale.

“I am only one, but I am one.
I cannot do everything, but I can do something.
And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.”

Pour Your Goodness Out Into The World: Part 2 of 3

This week I am posting a speech I delivered at the May 3 graduation event at Wesley Institute in Sydney, Australia. IWU recently struck an agreement to acquire WI and work with them to create the first evangelical Christian university in Australia.

The manuscript has been lightly edited for blog publication. Part one appeared on Monday, and part three is scheduled to appear on Friday.

Photo by Wing Chi Poon (License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/deed.en)

Photo by Wing-Chi Poon (License)

Here are three amazing facts that the Parable of the Talents suggests about our world.

Amazing Fact #1: The World is Full of Goodness

God has created a world in which goodness abounds.  God is the source of this goodness.  Goodness belongs to God.

It is not hard to imagine a world in which there is evil.  This is unremarkable.

It is far harder to imagine a world full of goodness.  But this is the kind of world that God has made and that God owns.

The master of this world has put a vast store of goodness at our disposal.

Amazing Fact #2: The World’s Goodness Can Be Multiplied

One of the most amazing aspects of this story is the insight it gives into the nature of the master’s wealth – it could be multiplied.

In fact, there was something about the master’s goods that suggested it was in their nature to be multiplied.  When he left his wealth in the hands of his employees, he did not give them explicit instructions about what to do with it.

They discover this unique property inherent in the assets the master has handed them – the nature of the master’s wealth is that it can make more wealth.

There is something miraculous about this world’s goodness.  It is not a zero-sum game.

When it is used, it is not used up.

In fact, when the goodness of this world is used it multiplies itself.

Here is one of the most amazing facts about the world as God has designed it.  We live in a world in which goodness grows more goodness.

Amazing Fact #3: The World’s Goodness is Entrusted to Us

How does God fill the world with goodness?

I confess that I have often functioned on the implicit understanding that God is responsible to multiply goodness in this world.  If good is spread throughout the world, it is up to God to do so directly through supernatural means.

Jesus’ story seems to suggest something different.  God almost never directly intervenes in this life to create goodness.

Instead, Jesus’ story suggests that God entrusts the world’s goodness to us.  If the goodness of this world is to be multiplied, it will be through us.

We are the agents through which goodness appears and is spread throughout this world.

If the world is to be filled with our master’s goodness, it will be done because we put the master’s goodness to good use.

If these are the amazing facts about the nature of our world, what are the principles we may follow to multiply the goodness of God in this world?

Principle #1: Use What’s in Your Account

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Photo by RikkisRefuge (License)

The master made no value distinctions between his employees.  He simply allocated his wealth according to the distinct and unique abilities of each employee.

Instead, they were evaluated on their faithfulness in putting to use what had been entrusted to them.

When he returned, his evaluation of the employee’s actions was not based on how much of his goods had been entrusted to them.

Jesus’ implication for his hearers is this: “And so it will be with you.”

Here is the first wise principle for multiplying the goodness of this world: Use what’s in your account.

The miracle of multiplied goodness does not depend on how much is in your account.  It depends on how much what is in your account is put to us.

Instead of wishing for a different account, or waiting for others with a different account to show up, we are called simply to use what has been deposited into our account.

What goodness is in your account?

Some of us have been entrusted with money that we can use to provide opportunities for others to make more money.

Others of us have little money, but we have imagination, creativity, compassion, and the ability to work hard.

No matter what, use what is in your account and you will see God multiply goodness in the world around you.

Principle #2: Don’t Wait to be Great

I love what Jesus said about the first two employees – immediately they went out and put their master’s assets to work.

They didn’t wait to be great.  They got right to work.

So often in life we tell ourselves that we will do something great when the circumstances are just right, when the risks are not so high, when we can see the return on our investment more clearly, when the need is really greatest, when we feel the motivation, when the brilliant idea will strike us.

All too often, we wait to be great.

Meanwhile the moments of life pass us by.  Life slips away from us, and our store of goodness languishes in our account, unused and unmultiplied.

Don’t wait to be great.  Seize the moment.  Live in the day at hand.  Pour your goodness out into the world’s neediness, even when it is risky.

This three-part series concludes on Friday

Multiplying Good in the World: Part 1 of 3

This week I’d like to share with you a speech I delivered at the May 3 graduation event at Wesley Institute in Sydney, Australia. IWU recently struck an agreement to acquire WI and work with them to create the first evangelical Christian university in Australia.

I will post the speech in three parts. The manuscript has been lightly edited for blog publication. Parts two and three are scheduled to appear on Wednesday and Friday.

 

 Four Wise Principles for Multiplying Good in the World
Matthew 25:14-30

Parable_of_the_Talents._Mironov14 ‘Again, [the kingdom of heaven] will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them.

The parable of the talents is one of the most popular of Jesus stories. A man of some means prepared to go away on a long journey. He called in three of his employees and entrusted his money to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two, and to a third he gave one talent. Then he left.

The first two employees immediately put their employer’s money to use. Through their skill and faithfulness their employer’s money was multiplied. They each doubled their employer’s money.

The third employee went off, dug a secret hole in the ground, and there deposited his employer’s money for safe keeping.

In due time the man returned. Quite naturally, he was anxious to hear from his employees and to settle accounts with them. 

The first two employees were congratulated and given even greater wealth to manage. The third, the one who hid the money “for safe keeping,” was chastised and fired.

This Is What The Kingdom of Heaven is Like

Jesus tells this story, along with several others, to describe what the kingdom of heaven is like.  Jesus was saying, “This is the nature and the working of the world according to God’s plan.”

This is the way the world works in which God’s will holds sway.

So, what can we learn from this interesting little story about God’s plan for the world, and for our lives?

What is a Talent?

100000-dollar

In order to understand the story we need to know that in Jesus’ day the word “talent” didn’t mean “skill” or “ability” as it does today. 

In Jesus’ day, a talent was a measure of money.  It is said that one talent of money was the equivalent of 20 years’ annual wages of a normal laborer.  So, for example, if in our day a normal laborer might make $30,000 per year, one talent would be equal to about $600,000. 

When the man in Jesus’ story entrusted five talents to his first employee, he gave him the equivalent of $3,000,000 – a tidy sum indeed.

The wealth they were given to manage was handed out “according to their abilities.”  But they were each trusted and valued employees.  The focus on the story is on what happens to the wealth based on the actions of those to whom it was entrusted.

The story isn’t about “money” per se, though money may be one of the things entrusted to us in the kingdom of heaven as it appears on earth.  Instead, I believe the talents of money in this story stand for the “goodness” with which God fills the earth.

God entrusts his goodness to the people of the earth.  His goodness might be described as the life, the vitality, inherent in the earth.  It might be described as the imagination, creativity, and capacity for meaningful work that are inherent in people created in God’s image.  It might be described as the resources he entrusts to us – our wealth, the natural resources made available to us, our networks of relationships with neighbors, our capacity for trust and goodwill, our aptitude for moral reasoning.

I believe this story tells us three amazing facts about God’s world.  Further, I believe Jesus’ story suggests four principles for multiplying the world’s goodness.


This three-part series continues on Wednesday and concludes on Friday.
Painting by Andrey Mironov. (License)