This past week I read both at home and in church the parable of the talents, Matthew 25:14-30. In case you don’t recall, it is about a master who is about to go on a journey and so he entrusts his some money to his servants, five coins to the first, two to another and finally one coin to the last. When the journey is over the lord calls his servants to him and the first returns the five coins and five more as he had invested well and earned his master interest. The man is pleased and promises to give him more responsibilities. The second servant has done the same and the master again promises him more responsibilities for doubling his investment. The last servant however, only gave the master back the single coin he was given believing the man was a bad master trying to reap what he hasn’t sown. This frustrates the man and he makes the servant give the coin to the first servant who was so wise and banished the one who did not invest at all from his sight.
There is so much to love about this parable and learn from it. First I love the term talent. I know that it is referring to a monetary coin, but it is also clearly referring to a persons talents. We are each given so many blessed gifts to work with, most of them having nothing to do with money or finances, but if we use them, cultivate them and enrich ourselves and those around us with these gifts, our rewards will be rich. For example, have you ever noticed people who are naturally good at something, if they stick with it even if it becomes dull or boring to them, they excel greatly where as people who jump from hobby to hobby or job to job, no matter how hard they work, they only seem to be scarping by? For the second type of people, they don’t take the time to cultivate the talents given too them. They might be good at any of the things they try but instead of taking the time to grow, they see something that might be better and jump.
I’m sad to admit that I have done this a lot in my life. I have thrown aside many of my God-given talents looking for an easier path. However I am realizing there is no easy path and thankfully the Lord is giving me time to reestablish those talents and cultivate them. Sometimes though, I have been having trouble discerning what is a talent and what is a distraction, just because I want to be patient doesn’t mean I am talented in patience. Through prayer and slowing my actions as well as seeking help from those wiser than me, I believe I will be able to give back to God what He has gifted me.
Another thing that I love about the parable is that the two servants give back exactly double and will be rewarded for such. I know for myself, I often get lost in wanting to make grander things. You know, if my soap business takes off and I am able to fully support my family and donate thousands to various charities and never have to worry about money again type of thinking. But looking at this parable, that is not what the Lord is looking for, He understands the limits of human life. Neither of the profitable servants brought more than double or less. So to me, and please forgive me if this is out of context, Christ is asking us to meet him equally. He gives us a talent and we are to cultivate it to exactly double what he gave us. Another way that we are to mirror God’s image, for what he gives us and what we put in reflects each other and creates double in harmony.
I cannot end this post without talking about the one poor servant, who did not invest the talent entrusted to him and gave it back to his master with the snarky comment about the Lord reaping what He does not sow. It is near impossible to not feel bad for this poor soul, and for me, at least, to identify with him on some level, I know I have talents that I have disregarded or given up. However, this servant also judges his master. He states that his master is unkind and doesn’t deserve riches earned by others and that is why he didn’t invest. As mere humans it is not our place to judge another for anything. We can not determine what anyone is or is not worthy of, whether what they ask for is money or patience or kindness, if it is in our power to give, we should proceed and as we see from the other two servants our reward will be great if we do.
What are your thoughts on the parable of the talents? Do you identify with any of the servants? How are you cultivating the gifts God has bestowed upon you today?