Sunday Breakfast with the Word
As we draw to the end of the liturgical calendar, the church continues to remind us what we have to expect at the end of life, and one of these is that we must certainly give an account of whatever God has given to us. Today’s gospel is not only about the natural endowments we refer to as talents. It goes beyond that.
What God has given to us includes in all ramification our positions, responsibilities, gifts, talents etc. Many have written on today’s gospel. So what we can do today is to sieve out fifteen points from the reading to consider why we have to use what God gives to us.
1.There is a Giver
One special analysis of this gospel today is the presence of a Master, and the three servants and each has something they represent. In the gospel, we have the master who gives and the servants who receive. Secondly, Jesus uses this gospel to explain the Kingdom of God. So the master here represents God that gives and we are like the servants.
Paul says that God created us to work for Him. He prepared us in advance for this. (Ephesians 2:10). Every good and perfect gift we have comes from God (James 1:17). The first point from today’s gospel is that whatever we have, let us not forget that there is a Giver and the Giver gives it to you for a particular intention. You are not where you are today because you made it possible. You are where you are because God made it possible.
2.It is not just Talent
To understand today’s gospel we have to go to the Greek derivation of it. The word talent as used here is talenton which was a unit of exchange as of that time. A talent could be gold, silver, copper etc, each one with its own value. Verse 18 uses the Greek word Argyrion, a word which can either mean money or silver. But one common value of it when exchanged could be about six thousand denarii. In essence, this is something that gives value to the lives of the people when they exchange it for trading.
Today, the modern interpretations have circumvented only around natural endowments but it goes more than that. It connotes both the natural endowments, the spiritual endowments, the services we ought to render, our positions, skills, in fact, everything God has given to us to bring value into our lives. Whatever God has given to you must be taken care of and must be accounted for on the last day.
In the gospel, the Master would have given all of them equal, but what he gives to one is not what he gives to another. The difference is in the difference and also in the amount. In the same manner, God bestows on us differently. What God gives to one is not what He gives to another. If we can understand this, we need to focus on whatever we have rather than envying the other person. Focus on your position, talents, gifts, responsibilities etc and make good use of them.
4.God trusts to entrust
In the Jewish world, servants enjoy considerable authority and responsibility from the master. Sometimes the Master entrusts His assets to them and goes on a long journey. When the master assigns responsibility to them, He believes that they can do it. So today, He gives all according to their capabilities.
In the same vein, whatever God has given to you, He trusts our strength and capabilities to do it. We do not have to tell God we cannot. God trusts to entrust these to you. He knows you can. We do not tell God, we cannot when He knows you can.
5.Freedom to Use
The departure of the Master is an integral part of today’s gospel. We have not taken time to think about these. Today we need constant supervision to make sure somebody is doing a work entrusted to Him. But in today’s gospel, after the Master has bestowed His gifts, He allowed them to work freely.
In us is the freedom to work or not to work. God has given his gifts. We do not need to blame Him again. If we like, let us work or not work, whatever and however we use what God has given to us must be accounted for.
6. Prompt to Work
Verse 16 of this gospel passage says that the man whom the master gives the five talents “promptly” or “At once” goes to work. He did not postpone it to tomorrow or next week. He did not say when I have enough capital nor did he begin to look for a favourable environment before he begins. The point here is that He did not delay.
We do not have to wait until we have everything to begin. We have to begin from where we are with whatever we have. Quit delaying to use whatever God has given to you. He wants you to go to work immediately.
7. You have to Work
The gospel says that the first servant immediately puts His talent to work. Some commentators say that He may have set up some businesses with it and thus worked until He makes His returns. Therefore, we have to work. We have to face all that God gives to us and work with them and assuredly there must be some returns. The more we do a thing is the more we learn that thing. Growth comes from work.
The master condemns the third servant because he did not put the talent to work. This shows that God endows us with the singular intention of working with them.
8.When much is given
In today’s gospel, the parable lays intrinsic emphasis on the principle “to whom much is given, much is also required from Him”. This simply indicates that God will hold us responsible for whatever we have. He blesses us with many gifts, talents, knowledge, wealth, positions, life, children, even time. In fact, whatever we receive, comes with more responsibilities. He gives us not necessarily for ourselves but for the good of all.
9. Give Account of All
Jesus teaches this parable to remind us what God is expecting from us at the end. We must give an account of what we are using his gifts, talents, and even time to do. Our leaders will answer what they used our natural resources to do. This gospel points to the fact that a day of reckoning must come.
- The risk of playing safe
When you look at the servant who buried His talent and his reasons, we will find out that He has his reasons for doing that. The truth is that the servant is unwilling to take risks, knowing the type of person the master is. Since the master gives him only one, He does not want to lose it. He did not bury the talent for the sake of burying it, but he does not want any story at the end. For him, burying the talent is safer.
Sometimes we find it difficult to use our gifts because we want to play safe. We do not want what people will say or think, we do not want to lose money, identity, position, etc. Sometimes we fear that people will begin to say a lot against us. Because of this, we decide to play safe, so as not to offend anyone. The truth is that in life, it is God we are working for. And in the end, every judgment will come from God. Instead of burying your talent because of the fear of the unknown, work with it because of the fear of the one who gives it to you. The easiest avenue one can be nothing is to do nothing at all.
11. Never play Blame Game: get to Work
The third servant blames the master for being the reason he buries the talent. This blame game incurred the wrath of the master. Adam blames Eve and Eve blames the serpent for making them fall and consequently they incur the wrath of God.
Blame Game is when we try to find excuses on why we did not do what we are supposed to do. The third servant overlooks He is responsible for whatever that is given to Him. In the same vein, we have to discharge our duties and quit looking for anyone to blame. If every person can discharge His duties well, so many things are going to change in our lives.
12. Opportunities can come from hard work
When the servants trade with their talents, they may not know that something awaits them at last. What they did was simply to obey the Master and the Master rewarded them at last. It is in doing that people will know what you are capable of. If the little Emmanuela did not show she can make people laugh, no one would know. Grace comes from what we do. We do not fold our hands and wait for manna from heaven. In many occasions, it is through what we do that many good things come.
13. Do not Assume to Presume
The problem of the foolish virgins last Sunday (Matthew 25:1-13) is to presume that everything will be easy and the problem of the servant who hides his talent today is to presume that His master is very hard. Because of this, both groups entered into a problem. We do not have to presume anyone. Do not say, ‘He has a problem or he does not have a problem”. Do not say people will think this or that. If you know what is good simply do it.
14. God hates Laziness
What happens in the gospel today is simply a pointer that God hates laziness. Sincerely we do not make God happy, when we fold our hands doing nothing. 2 Thessalonians 3:10 says “ He who does not work, let him not eat”. God wants us to be responsible.
15. Failure to use God’s Resources
The master called the third servant worthless because he failed to use what God has given to him. When a nation fails to use responsibly what God has given them, they become worthless. Consequently, when we also fail to use responsibly and judiciously what God has given to us, we also lose our worth. Failure to use his talent leads the servant to rejection and banishment from the master. Therefore, we have to appreciate whatever God gives to us, despite how little it is and use it for the glory of His name.
Happy Sunday and God bless you.
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