Jesus offered a Parable about our God-given talents, and I thought about this when my friend, Sue, in her fifth decade, discovered a latent God-given talent for painting.
The painting shown above was gifted to me by her, and it now hangs in my sitting room. It inspires me to search for any latent talents that I might have.
Sue is now developing this newfound gift with all her heart and soul and is very happy and fulfilled as she does this. She produces beautiful paintings that people take great pleasure in enjoying in their homes.
The parable and reflection in this post are about developing our God-given talents – we all have them – have you identified all of yours?
Reflection on the Parable of the Talents:
In most parables, Jesus is teaching several different lessons. In this parable, He tells his disciples that they need to be creative, faithful, fearless, and productive in their Kingdom-building work.
The master in the parable represents God, and the servants represent various people and their responses in relationship to God. The work they were undertaking represents building the Kingdom of God.
The master gave his servants different amounts of money to look after according to their gifts. Two of the servants worked creatively with the money to generate more. The third buried it because he did not trust the master to be understanding if he lost it.
When the master returned, he judged what his workers had produced with the money he had entrusted. The first two were praised and given more things. The third servant was condemned to outer darkness because he had not done anything creative with the money he had been trusted to look after. He had not served his master well; he was faithless and fearful.
We can better understand this parable from St Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. He told them that God created us as individual works of art. But not just as pieces of art, we also all have the potential to be co-creators in helping to build the Kindom of God on earth.
God has blessed us all with many gifts and talents. This could be with amazing skills in the creative arts, practical specialties in the workplace, and the capacity for kindness and compassion. There is no end to the width and depth of gifts that God has to bless us with; they are as numerous as the stars in the sky; they combine to create our uniqueness.
We were created to be happy co-creators with God, celebrating that He is the God of love and all creation. He allows us to be in a world separate from Himself and loves and delights in watching us discover and express our gifts.
By comparison, the third servant in the parable proved to be a worthless – useless, faithless, and fearful lump of clay.
The lesson for Christians today from the Parable of the Talents, is to be creative, faithful, fearless, and productive in our Kingdom-building work.
Matthew 25:14-30 The Parable of the Talents
14 “For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; 15 to one he gave five talents,[a] to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.
16 The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. 17 In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. 18 But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
19 After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. 20 Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’
22 And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’
24 Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’
26 But his master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest.
28 So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. 29 For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 30 As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’