“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.” ~ Matthew 25:14-29
I picture this little, dingy, desperate man given this one talent. So used to doing whatever he needed to do for his own survival, he was fearfully protective of this one talent. Fearful of losing it. Fearful of ridicule. Fearful of failure. Not to mention lazy. His go to instincts overrode the gratitude of being graciously entrusted with his master’s property, so he buries it. Keeps it safely hidden. This way he has nothing to risk and nothing to lose.
I believe many of us are not much different from this man. We might be tempted to believe otherwise. Those of us who have been taught most of our lives that this parable is about using our “talents” for God. Maybe we do, but the word “talent” was derived from this parable not the other way around. So, I can’t help but think that there is so much more to this parable than just using our skills and abilities for God.
The talent, in this sense, is the good news that we are redeemed, accepted by Grace, and made ready for the good works God has called us to. Many of us, including myself, have often times out of past tendencies of desperation, self-centeredness or fear hold the gospel close to our own lives, but don’t do anything more with it. The intention of the gospel, the good news of Christ, isn’t just to receive it, keep it in and protect it so we can live safe comfortable lives. The purpose of the gospel is to spread, branch out, and affect the lives of those around us. It’s purpose is to multiply. Read any parable where Jesus describes the kingdom and each one points to something that grows out, branches, and multiplies. It’s messy. It’s inconvenient. But its return is exponential.
All too often people go to church to help themselves. To feel better. To become better people. To be loved and accepted. These are good things, but if they are not growing, if they are not in turn branching out and affecting our neighbors then it is no better than the little dingy scared man who buried his talent.
As an introverted and timid person, God has really been dealing with me on this. To just use my time and talents to serve is not necessarily promoting the kingdom if I’m not willing to open myself up to relationships and freely sharing the gift of love and acceptance given to me by my Master. Case in point, we’ve moved and I have struggled to reach out to my neighbors. I just want to keep to myself. I don’t want to have to get to know anyone else. I’m fearful of being more spent of what I already am. But God has shown me that He didn’t put us here to bless and benefit us. But instead, He placed us here in Friendsville to bless and benefit the neighbors around us.
The body of Chris is called so because it is meant to be a functioning active unit operating under the headship of Christ. To work as one. To think as one. To embody the very things that Christ embodied and extended out to man when He walked this earth. It starts with us as individuals to stop being afraid and to no longer focus inward on ourselves, but to focus our hearts upwards and then outwards. We do this first and foremost accepting and believing in our sonship as the Bible promises that we are heirs with Christ. We don’t have to be afraid or protective but to live our faith outward and allow it to multiply.
There are lots of ways we spend ourselves; our time, energy, money, efforts, thoughts, concerns are all things we spend. When we spend it on ourselves or not at all, we are left with absolutely nothing.When we choose to spend it on others in the name of Jesus, it is an investment that multiplies.