Stewardship

55
Sun, Apr 6, 2014 - 4:10am

My grandfather found religion (for the second time) relatively late in life. After having spent nearly a full lifetime toiling, he came to realize that he had neglected the spiritual aspect of life. He became a true believer and avid Bible scholar, and while never evangelical about it, he often wove biblical references into our conversations. One of his favorites was the following passage from Matthew 25:

For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants[c] and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents,[d] to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.

16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money.

19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.[e] You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’”

This was his way of telling me that he intends to be a good steward of the (meager) wealth passed onto him very late in life from his parents, so that I and my children would have more than what he received. The reason that he worked 50-60 hours a week well into his eighties was because he refused to be the servant that merely buried the coin, without adding to it. The image he always evoked was one of a living tree. The role of older generations was to support and feed the upcoming youth, both physically, intellectually and spiritually, so that when they grow, they will be able to take on their role in supporting the structure of society as well as their own young.

He was also the epitome of the anti-fiat man, never having more than loose change in any bank account for very long. He prided himself on his (sometimes, to an external observe, extreme) frugality, and spent many a walk showing me what types of plants, fruits, berries where edible, and when. The idea being, that one should be able to survive on forage, at least temporarily, if needed. He would think nothing of walking several miles to save a few cents of busfare. All of this was justified by a very strong drive never to waste anything. In his own way, he succeeded, though mostly through the wisdom of his teachings, and the lessons of his life, rather than in a material sense.

By its very definition, precious metals are a STORE of wealth. They represent money at rest, especially in today’s world when they are not part of the ‘mainstream’ monetary system. Especially since so many of us have unfortunately, involuntarily become former owners of now underwater metal deposits, this all represents a lot of value taken out of circulation in the economy.

Given that today’s economy consist to an alarming degree of Potemkin industries with holographic valuations and in many cases ‘products as well, this is not at all a bad thing. With the distortions and misallocations of capital induced by the past decades of CBs (both ‘national’ and transnational) and government policies, let alone our good friends the banksters themselves, it is becoming increasingly difficult to gauge the true value of material things. Not only have once-stable yardsticks of 'hard currencies' been corrupted, government overbearance (both due to insolvency, as well as a general trend toward exercising more power over the populace) makes it increasingly inefficient to try to work to better one’s lot. It makes perfect sense to store whatever savings one has into things that retain their value indefinitely. For my grandfather, it was arable land and the tools to work on it. For us here, it’s generally heavier metals from the 11th, and to an extent the 14th columns of the periodic table – and a large variety of other durable things.

But I am not Smaug, sitting atop his vast hoard of gold and jewels. If the stack I now have is all I can pass on to my children when the time comes, I shall be sorely disappointed in myself. There is a large and long task ahead – not only to pass on values, knowledge, curiosity and love to the next generation; but to hold onto, and if possible expand, the means of their continued survival.

So no matter how jaded and frustrated I feel with the markets, how depressed I feel reading the daily news (both due to events and the determined effort of media owners to control and mislead the populace), no matter how futile my wage slave existence seems sometimes, there is always a beacon of light reminding me to stop whining and start doing things better, smarter, faster. It is prudent to safeguard existing value by storing it in permanent forms. But it also behooves us to take advantage of the (now visibly) closing window of opportunity while the Great Keynesian Experiment is still running, before the experimental setup shakes its way off the lab table and smashes on the stone tiles. And we have to keep remembering that the sun will most likely come up tomorrow, bringing with it another day of responsibilities to be met.

The parable at the front of the passage was always told to me in paraphrase, not until I just looked it up did I know how exactly the whole thing went. My grandfather only said the man taking account of his servants was angry with the one who buried the gold coin he had received, and cast him off his land. The actual text of the book is a bit more detailed:

He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’

26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents.

29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”

I’m not sure I fully understand what the latter part of the parable exactly means, other than that the man was obviously enraged by the last servant’s answer – and that burying a coin is not considered prudent stewardship. (I’m sure there are exceptions for passing Mongol hordes and global financial meltdowns). But the parts that seem unclear are:

  • whether the man indeed considered himself deserving of unearned profits?
  • could this be an oblique (actually, pretty plain) critique of bankers?
  • but if the second point is true, why then a perfect quote to encapsulate bankster mentality?

What I DO know is that there will indeed in the end be weeping and gnashing of teeth. No way to be fully prepared (even if the ‘date’ is still considerably in the future), but making some hay now while the last rays of sunlight are still peeking through under the stormclouds may not be a bad idea. Taking a class, learning a skill, befriending a neighbor, spending more time with one’s family is easier when not beset by more immediate existential concerns.

So spend some time taking a walk, hugging a friend, showering together ‘to save water’ if so inclined. Smell the flowers, have a meal with a neglected acquaintance or rarely-seen relative. And of course keep preparing accordingly.

About the Author

  55 Comments

08Gold-Wing
Apr 6, 2014 - 4:37am

ONE

holy crap !!!! I'm not the only one up at this hour. Its 3:30 in the morning ??

ok, went back and read your post, Well said, well said, you can not forget to live,your life. While preparing for the future.

Wing

sengfarmer
Apr 6, 2014 - 4:50am

duck?

ouch ouch ouch I just burned my index finger, typing without it sucks.

Apr 6, 2014 - 4:57am

A man can not succeed without

A man can not succeed without taking risks because risk properly managed is opportunity.

Hammer
Apr 6, 2014 - 6:04am
Deerhunter
Apr 6, 2014 - 6:09am

deep thinking

we have all been given various talents and they are to be used. We may have been put on this earth to do no more than give one person a cold glass of water. To be at the right place at the right time to do what I was put here for is my quest. While doing so I have been blessed to enjoy raising three children, found the only woman on earth that will put up with me and love me, and hear the voices of four and soon to be five grandchildren laugh and play when they come to visit. I enjoy your ponderings and deep thinking JY and I take great comfort and solace from the same book your grandfather quoted in helping you on your journey. Fear not is often found in the same book along with many others things such as seeking wisdom and understanding. I would like to have met your grandfather.

TF Metals fan
Apr 6, 2014 - 6:10am

Devils dillema

Yes, I am familiar with the story, And I believe it has a second purpose: It is good to have money circulating. This will benefit the economy and all will prosper through work and income. We can not all sit idle on our buried talents.

But: buying gold and silver to stack this looks very similar to buried talents. Yes, of course: we believe that gold and silver is not judged to their fair values. So time will add to its perceived value. But it is not part of the moneysupply. So the increase in value was not the result of an economic activity. Or should I just think: it is not yet part of the moneysupply? And when this becomes judged against fair value it may ignite a small part of the economy? Is it really that simple?

Just my thougths.....

Excalibur
Apr 6, 2014 - 6:52am

Parable set up

One take on the parable of the talents is that the one with the money and power, the Master, is cruel, vindictive and unforgiving to the servant who acted out of fear.

And the Master is focused on the monetary return and not on how that return was made. The Master is basically a banker, and the banker will always want to be the Master.

And how the story would have been different if one of the servants had been robbed and the other one lost in it in bad deals/gambling/drinking. The one who had buried his talent would have been the one praised.

Of course the set up is such to get the desired outcome.

Marchas45
Apr 6, 2014 - 7:09am

I'm Sharing

It Feels Better To Give, Rather Than To Steal. Keep Stacking

Check The Description In The Video.

Video unavailable
TomMack
Apr 6, 2014 - 8:14am

tks jy

now to read.............done

Yes, I have always had trouble with that parable, burying our talents (gold). Are we too fearful? Are we squandering day after day looking out for TEOTGKE. Or are we like the the 3 pig who builds his house of brick not know when something will come? I used to end my posts (however few) with "BTFD" of later "STACK STACK STACK" but now I usually type "stack within reason or protect your stack" because you want to be the one who decides when to sell and not be a 'weak hand' .

I am confident more enlightened interpretations of this will be forthcoming.

stack within reason!

edit again 9th!

Mr. Fix
Apr 6, 2014 - 8:29am

Managing risk is a way of life:

I do it everyday, hopefully the odds will always remain in my favor.

top 10!

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