Monday December 9, 2019
12:14 pm

In All Things: To those who use wisely, much will be given

      This week’s Gospel reading (Mt 25:14-30) speaks volumes about the meaning of success, going out on a limb and using the gifts God has given to each.

      Once again, let’s set the scene. A rich man decides to go on a journey. Most trips in those days were lengthy, as travel was arduous. Before leaving, he calls in three of his servants. To the first, he entrusts five talents; the second two talents; and the third is given one talent. Each servant was gifted, the Gospel states, according to his ability.

      Here’s a quick footnote. We think of a “talent” in the traditional sense of the word. In ancient times, a talent was a sum of money, the largest unit of currency of the time. One talent was estimated as being equal to 20 years wages for a laborer…no small sum of money. These were gifts of great worth.

      The first servant promptly went out and managed to double his money. The second, likewise.

      The third, who was given only one talent, freaked out and buried the money in dirt, lest he should lose it and his master become angry.

      When the head of the house returned, he was obviously well-pleased with the first two servants who used the money well and found success. “Well done, my good and faithful servant(s)…Come share your master’s joy.”

      The third poor guy had to admit that, in order not to lose it, he buried his one talent in the ground. “Here, you can have it back, master.”

      While we might understand his fear - while we might be saying to ourselves, “Hey, at least he didn’t risk losing it,” - he failed to recognize the gift and failed to use it well on behalf of his master.

      In Matthew’s telling of the story, the man was then considered useless and thrown into the darkness. He wasn’t invited to share his master’s joy, as the other two servants.

      Here’s what the Gospel seems to be saying to me. No matter how many times I may sin or how righteous I might strive to become, the first and most important thing God will look me in the eye and ask is what did I do with the talents I was given?

      Legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi is quoted as saying, “The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.”

      It’s not necessarily if we succeed or fail, it’s that we do the best we can with what we’ve been given. Everyone has a talent, a gift; each according to his or her ability. God stands in hopeful anticipation, eager to see what we will do with our gifts.  Will we step out of our comfort zones and take a risk? Or, like the third servant, will we bury our gifts, afraid or too lazy to see the possibilities?

      On that day of accounting, to hand back what God has given to us unused would almost seem like a slap in the face to our Giver, wouldn’t it?

      Or look at it another way…replace the word “talent” with love. God gives us hearts filled with love and then waits to see what we will do next. Do we cultivate that love and let it spill over onto others or do we selfishly bury it only to hand it back to God not fully opened?

      Read Matthew 25:14-30 one more time. Everything that is truly good within us is a gift from the Lord. How we choose to use those gifts will, as in the case of the first two servants, will determine just how much more we will be given.

     Debbie Bosak is the editor and general manager of Northwest Indiana Catholic Publications and a member of Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Merrillville. Email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

     

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