The Servant's Reward

Anna Wierzbicka

in What Did Jesus Mean?

Published in print May 2001 | ISBN: 9780195137330
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199867905 | DOI:
The Servant's Reward

Show Summary Details


Argues that the parable of the Servant's Reward, which may seem harsh and may offend modern Western sensibilities, is corrective, rather than expository: the image of a master and his “unprofitable servants” complements that of a father and his beloved children. While highlighting the value of human effort in God's eyes, the parable warns against thinking that one can earn one's reward from God, that is, against a way of thinking that can be represented as follows:

I have done some good things

God has to do some good things for me because of this

Bypassing complex and culture‐specific concepts like “reward,” “merit,” “claim,” and “good works,” the chapter articulates the parable's message about God as follows:

God wants to do good things for me

not because I have done some good things

not because I can do some good things

Keywords: culture‐specific concepts; good works; human effort; reward; Western sensibilities

Chapter.  4069 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.