Putting Talents to Work

Matthew 25: 14-30
1 Cor 1: 26-31 / Ps 33: 12-13, 18-21

For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.
(Matthew 25:29)

For the talents God’s entrusting
May we gainfully parlay,
So that we may be deserving
Of His joy on Judgment Day.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents, to another two, and to a third one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went away. The man who received five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master, you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’ His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with small things; I will put you in charge of greater things. Come and share your master’s joy!’ The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’ His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with small things; I will put you in charge of greater things. Come and share your master’s joy!’ Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. Here it is back.’ His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered? Should you not then have put my money in the bank, so that when I returned I could have got it back with interest? Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw this useless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.’ (Matthew 25:14-30)

Reflection

In common with the two earlier parables (Faithful and Unfaithful Servants, & Parable of the Ten Virgins), the predominant message is still diligence in service. In this third parable however, Jesus adds the value of talents. The talent was a measure of gold or silver representing a large amount of money. The wise master gave his servants varying amounts according to their abilities, and sure enough, the servant with the least ability did not produce anything with his talent. Our Lord seems to be telling us in this parable that God’s gifts are the equivalent of opportunities that God sends our way for us to make full use of our abilities. But we must not feel proud of our accomplishments, for even our abilities came from God. As St. Paul wrote in the first reading, “It is due to Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, as well as righteousness, sanctification and redemption, so that as it is written, ‘Whoever boasts should boast in the Lord’.” (1 Cor.1:30-31)

As servants in God’s household, we are all given different opportunities according to the call of our ministry. Some of us are gifted with a melodious voice or prowess with a musical instrument, so God gives us the opportunity to praise Him in harmonious songs. Some of us are gifted speakers, and so we have the privilege of giving testimony to God’s saving grace in our transformed lives. Some of us have the ability to give good counsel, so we should not wonder when people with emotional troubles find their way to our doors. Even problems not of our own making may turn out to be opportunities for our spiritual growth. So, if ever we feel that we are taking on more responsibilities than the next guy, we should not complain, but instead, we should rejoice, “For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance.” Like the first two servants, let us employ God’s gifts with haste and hard work, because when our Lord returns, we can only share in our Master’s joy!

Lord, it is because of Your love, and the talents that You have given us that we serve You in our ministry. Teach us to be more discerning in every event that comes our way, to know whether it is an opportunity to propagate Your love, or merely for our own aggrandizement. We ask this in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

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