Making the Safe Choice…

“Throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Wow! What has happened for this to occur?

Have you ever read the end of the parable of the talents? [Matthew 25: 30].

This is what Jesus says will happen to the servant who buries his talents in the ground.

What can we make of this?

Is it a threat?

Is it a warning?

Does it make you pause and think “What am I doing with my talents?”

Of course in Matthew the word talent refers to money but this connotative word can also refer to the gifts God has given to us. In the literal context, it refers to money and to be honest, it seems that the fearful, conservative investor who wants to put his money in his mattress will not fare well with Jesus.

Today we hear a lot of talk about the collapse of the economy and to avoid total loss of investment, one needs to invest in tangible precious metals which are likely not to increase in value. However, if economic Armageddon occurs, the gold or silver will be available to purchase needed commodities for survival.

But what is the survivalist who is investing in gold and silver doing with their talents?

Essentially they are burying them in a hole in the ground.

“Throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

But what if we take the more connotative meaning of talent and say that it means a special ability that allows someone to do something well. What if you have a talent and you refuse to use it? What if you have a talent and you refuse to develop it? What if you choose to “bury” your talent?

Steve Pavlina [a personal development expert] likes to apply this parable to individual development. Truly some people are born with many talents and maybe others are born with few. If you are fortunate and have many talents, don’t just be satisfied with your abilities, push yourself to maximize your talents. If you only have one talent, do the best you can with it. In other words, increase your ability to use your talent.

Looking at this from a stewardship point of view, are you being a good steward of your talent? We don’t think of talent in this way but we should. A steward is one who is responsible for taking care of money or property. We hear the word tossed around in Christian circles a lot. We should be good stewards of our money and property. However, can we be good stewards of our talent? Can we use it to the best of our ability? Can we help others with it? Can we develop it?

In Jesus’ parable, the servant who does not grow his talent is called a “wicked, lazy servant.” Maybe we can be called that if we have a talent and we do nothing with it.

Pavlina comments on the word faithful. Sometimes when I read my Bible, words don’t strike me the way they should. When I did a close reading, I [like Pavlina] did notice the word “faithful” applied to the first two servants. Jesus says they are “good and faithful” as they have taken what they have been given and they have multiplied it. Since they have faith, they can make their talent grow. It seems like faith is necessary for talent to expand. Both servants who have faith and have grown their talent are given responsibility over more things: “I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share in your master’s happiness!”

Finally, the parable taps into a core idea that will rob a person of growth opportunity. Fear and suspicion will keep you from growing. The servant who buries his talent fears his overseer.   He says “Master, I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed, so I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground.”

That was not what the master wanted to hear and he says so. Why did you not return the money with interest? Why did you not develop your talent? Why did you not share your talent with others? Why did you not help others with your talent?

No one wants to be thrown outside, into the darkness. No one wants to be thrown where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

No one wants to hide their talent.

What are you doing with your talent/s?

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