Scripture: Matthew 25:14-30
14 “For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; 15 to one he gave five talents,[f] to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. 17 In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. 18 But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. 20 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.’ 21 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.’ 22 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.’ 23 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.’ 24 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; 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 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? 27 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. 28 So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. 29 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. 30 As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
Jesus sounds harsh here, doesn’t he? He has described a harsh master to us in this story, but I think he is reminding us that there is accountability for our Christian action or lack of it. If we reduce the parable to its essence, this is the basic accusation against the third steward: You did nothing with what I gave you.
The God who breathed life into us; who created us in our mother’s womb deserves our gratitude and our praise. Jesus Christ, who redeemed us and gave us an eternal hope, deserves our gratitude and our praise. For the Holy Spirit, our sustainer in this life, we give thanks and offer praise. Jesus taught us the appropriate response to what we have been given. He said we are to go and make disciples. We are to be good neighbors; give sacrificially; seek out the least and the lost. Both as individuals and as a church, we have the resources to do this. We must unearth the talents that God wants to use.
Ann Weems wrote the following reflection on The Parable of the Talents:
All of us from time to time
have dug our hiding places
and buried our songs
or our silver.
Thinking our voices too weak
and our offering too meager,
out of fear
we have buried our talents.
What bothers us, of course,
is the reaction to the third servant,
for Jesus is talking
the ones who have been entrusted with God’s Word.
Jesus reminds us
that it is God’s gifts we bury.
Let us, in this new Church resolve
to unearth our talents
and offer unto God all that we have
Menno Simons wrote:
True evangelical faith cannot lie dormant. It clothes the naked, it feeds the hungry, it comforts the sorrowful, it shelters the destitute, it serves those who harm it, it binds up the wounded, it has become all things to all people.
It is time to awaken; to rise; to unearth our talents. When we give to God, it is our praise and thanksgiving for all we have been given. We become living doxologies. When we participate in the ministry of the church, we are like cups overflowing with his goodness and mercy. When you and I work side by side to minister to the poor; comfort the sorrowing; bring hope and healing to people, we learn what it means to be a community.
Joan Chittister wrote:
It is in community that we come to see God in the other. It is in community that we see our own emptiness filled up. It is community that calls me beyond the pinched horizons of my own life, my own country, my own race, and gives me the gifts I do not have within me.