“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 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.’ 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.’ 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.’ 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.’ 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, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 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? 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. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 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. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ Matthew 25:14-30
Fear can make us do strange things including hiding our gifts from the world. When we have only a little bit of something, especially when it is unexplored, we often hide it away, fearing ridicule and shame. I am always amazed when I go to someone's home and see incredible works of art, only to find out it was that same person who was the artist'. We often carry that shame and anxiety from our school days into our present. We can be sure that what we have is inadequate and lacking. And yet, what we have been given is needed for the world truly needs.
Jesus continues his story telling to explain the end times, or judgement. He tells the story of a land owner and his servants, some who use their money and invest, and the one who buries it in the ground. I am always sympathetic with the one who buries his talent for fear, the person who is broken and cannot bear any more failure or loss. But the story is told so that we might be encouraged to use what we have, no matter how small it might seem, and God will supply the increase and abundance. In God's world, we are to be bold with what we have been given and let God use it for the good of the world.
Today I ask God to help me put aside all fear and use what I have been given for good. May we not bury what we have been blessed with, but use it wisely, practicing our faith and trust in God every day. May we who are anxious and fearful, set fear and anxiety aside, letting God strengthen us for the tasks ahead. May we not compare our gifts to others, but rather, seek to use our gifts for the good of the world and the glory of God's reign here on earth.