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"Jesus in his teachings alluded with surprising frequency to the use and abuse of intrusted wealth and power. In the...

Jesus in his teachings alluded with surprising frequency to the use and abuse of intrusted wealth and power. In the.... WHAT TO DO 381 parables of the talents and pounds ^ he evidently meant to stewardship V define all human ability and opportunity as a trust. His sWp.°^"^^" description of the head servant who is made confident by the continued absence of his master, tyrannizes over his subordinates, and fattens his paunch on his master's property, is meant to show the temptation which besets all in authority to forget the responsibility that goes with power.^ His portrayal of the tricky steward who is to be dismissed for dishonesty, but manages to make one more grand coup before his authority ends, not only shows the keen insight of Jesus into the ways of the grafter, but also shows that he regarded all men of wealth as stewards of the property they hold.' The parable of the peasants who jointly rent a vineyard and then try to do their absent owner not only out of his rent, but out of the property itself, was meant by Jesus to condense and dramatize the whole history of the ruling class in Israel.* The illustration of the fig tree which has had all possible advantages of soil and care without returning fruit, and which merely gets a year's reprieve through the hopeful pleading of the gardener, expresses the indignation of Jesus against the waste of intrusted opportunity.^ The terrible invective against the scribes and Pharisees is directed against teachers who had misused their influence to darken truth and leaders who had treated their leadership as a chance to get profit and honor for themselves.® The fact that Jesus in his diagnosis of wrong moral relations so often puts his finger on trust abused and betrayed, is proof of his penetrating social insight. Nearly all powers * Matthew 25. 14-30; Luke 19. n-27. * Matthew 21. 33-46. ' Matthew 25. 45-51. * Luke 13. 6-9. * Luke 16. 1-15. ' Matthew 23. 382 CHRISTIANITY AND THE SOCIAL CRISIS in society are essentially delegated powers. The more complex society becomes, the less will it be possible for the individual to attend to all his needs himself, and the more will he have to intrust others with specialized functions and powers. When

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