Bishop Eric Menees
The gospel lesson from Matthew two weeks ago presented the Parable of the Talents. A landowner went on a trip leaving each of his three bondservants with one, two, or five talents. Two of the servants invested their talents and doubled their master’s money. One of the servants buried his talent, as he was afraid the master would be angry IF he lost the talent.
This is a parable about the 2nd Coming and Judgment but it begs the question: “Is God really going to judge us on the amount of money that we make; on the success of our financial investments?” If so then Mr. Gates, Saudi Princes, and Russian Oligarchs have nothing to worry about. Of course, scripture makes it clear that financial success WILL NOT be the criteria we are judged on. If that were the case, Jesus would never have sent the Rich Young Man off to “sell all he had and give it to the poor.” (Matthew 19:21) There are four main teachings that this Parable gives us.
First, we need to understand that each of us is given our talents – for us it’s not wealth but different interests and gifts given to our ability. It is not our talent that matters – it is how we use that talent. Do we use our gifts and talents to the glory of God, or do we use them for our own advancement? A disciple uses their talent for the glory of God.
Second, this parable tells us that the reward for work well done is...well...more work! The two servants who did well are told that they cannot sit back and rest on their laurels, but that they must be prepared for more work and responsibility. That, of course, is not a bad thing – to be trusted by the Lord is to be allowed to be an instrument of his Grace and Peace. Of course the next question raised is: what gifts has the Lord given you?
Third, it’s important to note that the man who is punished is the man who will not try. The man with the one talent did not lose his talent; he simply did nothing with it. It would have been better for him to have tried and lost the talent rather than simply trying nothing. Perhaps he was afraid of his master. Perhaps he was afraid of failure. In any case the result was the same – he failed to act, and therefore failed altogether! Do you have gifts and talents that you are not using for the Glory of God?
Fourth, and lastly, a disciple who exercises his or her gifts will be able to do more and more with the gifts given them.
I pray you all a blessed start to Advent!