Sunday, November 13, 2011
Jesus said, "For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money. After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, `Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.' His master said to him, `Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.' And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, `Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.' His master said to him, `Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.' Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, `Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.' But his master replied, `You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' "Matthew 25:14-30
We seem to be overrun with talent, if television is any judge of things. Shows like the Voice, America's Got Talent, American Idol are among a sea of talent shows that people follow with great commitment. They revel in the missteps and missteps of the performers, delight in the judges antics and weep when some poor, pitiful underprivileged child shows amazing skill and talent. Most of these shows also have three judges, stars in their own right, who often steal the show from the auditioning performers. We watch as people put their life on the line and call it entertainment. And most of us are burying our talent every day, hiding the blessings God has given us rather than risk embarrassment and humiliation when we publicly come up short.
Jesus tells this parable about our gifts, and uses a unit of money which is symbolic of so much more. He invites us to understand that God has blessed every one of us abundantly and yet we are prone to hide our gifts for fear of ridicule and punishment, whether from those who oversee us or from our peers. God wants us to use our talents, share our gifts and multiply the hope, mercy and love we have been given. Most of us are terrified of being put to shame. God doesn't care about the human audience but about the human heart.
Today, I ask God to help me be strong enough to share what I have been given, fearless enough to refrain from burying those gifts and hopeful enough to trust God to bring the increase. We live in times when people really need to witness hope and mercy, and to know that God's love and abundance is for every one, every where. May we all be witnesses to God's promise of abundance and blessing, even when there is shortage and want everywhere.