Living the Gospel – November 15, 2020

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Parable of the talents

I know that in the time of Jesus, a talent referred to an amount of money, but there is something to be gained by looking at the talent as a skill or special ability. When I was young, I looked around and saw how talented so many people were and felt dispirited. I felt like a nobody. Eventually, I could see that I did have my own unique set of talents, but that didn’t help. I wanted more, I wanted different, I was jealous of what others had and bemoaned that I didn’t have those talents.

This naturally left me unable to build and develop what I had. I had managed to dig the proverbial hole and bury my talents. They weren’t good enough in my mind, so I hid what talents I was given.

Like the stewards, I was eventually called to task. What had I done with my God-given talents? I was ashamed to say I had done very little. I was jealous of what others were given and, even worse, I was ashamed of my talents because I didn’t deserve them. My friends had taken their talents and developed them. The interest they gained was the increase in their skills to where some of them were able to make a gainful living. In contrast, I had failed to develop mine. My efforts to correct that showed I had lost much – not just time but the talents themselves had deteriorated.

It was too easy to believe I didn’t have enough to work with. It was too easy to compare myself to others and find myself wanting. My parents often told me “You can’t do that, it’s hard.” Eventually, I stopped trying, believing I couldn’t do anything that was hard. Yes, I had effectively buried my talents completely.

Fortunately, God wasn’t content with that self-assessment. He found a way, painful as it was, to claim those talents, dig them up out of my past, and put them to work.

But there is one more thing about this passage that I need to look at long and hard. The servants were working for their master, not for admiration or personal gain. I must find a way to not only develop my talents but to use them for God’s work, to move ahead on the path he has laid out for me.

It isn’t an easy task, but I have learned that I can do hard things, too. And, God willing, in the end, He will say “Well done, faithful servant” to me.

Linda Crowley