After hearing The Parable of the Talents, we pondered what was the most surprising thing we learned.
The hands down winner (in a crowd of 1st graders) was that the third servant chose to bury his “talent.”
Indeed, who today would bury something valuable?
I explained that the people who heard Jesus tell this parable would have approvingly nodded their heads when told of this concealing effort. In those days, to bury money placed into your care was considered a secure way of protecting a treasure. This third servant had done what everyone would have expected – gone for his shovel!
Except, according to the parable, the master wasn’t happy with this choice.
What resembled a smart decision, delivered a sad outcome.
How should we be guided by this parable — this story used by Jesus to teach his listeners about living in God’s kingdom?
Don’t bury your talents.
And here we aren’t only talking about the first century use of the word “talent” which referred to a large sum of silver or gold. Our use of the word “talents” encompasses much more — all of our resources including our money, our skills, our abilities, our time, and our stuff! Don’t hide these aptitudes; use them!
Making use of our talents? Easy, right?
What is holding you back? Are you allowing your “inner voice” to control your actions?
Do you explain away your behavior with…
- I’m too busy.
- My efforts are too small to make a difference.
- I’m not ready.
- I am afraid.
- What will people think?
I’ve bestowed all of these excuses upon myself. I need a daily reminder to banish my fearfulness.
Everything is a gift.
Today, marks the ten-year anniversary of my near-fatal brain aneurysm. Because of an incredible story of everything happening at just the right moment, and lots of prayer, and skilled medical care, I survived. I received a precious gift: a second chance to do my best with the gifts God has given me.
Yet I don’t always act in this manner. I behave like the third servant in our parable.
Unlike his fellow-workers who were emboldened by the chance to make something of themselves — to serve their master faithfully — this third servant was afraid.
He forfeited opportunities to risk investing his gifts.
God asks only one thing for giving us the gold coin of life: Use what you have to facilitate God’s kingdom here on earth. We are not told how to use our talents, just that we should use them.
How will you make use of your resources, your gifts, your money, your skills, your abilities, and your time?
An illustration from my favorite kids Bible, The Jesus Storybook Bible, used under an educational fair use category. (Link goes to Ann Arbor District Library holding.)
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