The Way to be of Great Value
There was a talented young artist named Chidi. Chidi had a gift for artistic drawing and painting. He always longs to draw whatever He imagines. He can just look at anyone and draw the person immediately. Chidi also has a stylish way of beautifying things through his painting, organization and decoration. He longs to make a huge impact on the world but Chidi was limited by the environment he found himself in.
His cousins, brothers, kinsmen and villagers were aware of the power of art in him but no one was willing to help him grow. In fact no one tends to appreciate his talent.
Determined to change this, Chidi kept working hard. Day by day He keeps learning different techniques, experimenting with colors, and honing his skills. So, one day the Catholic youths of his parish were doing a farewell party for their parish priest who was about to leave the country and the youths decided to give their parish priest a portrait and spiritual bouquet.
The youths have already agreed with another artist, accepting to pay a huge sum of money to the artist for the portrait and spiritual bouquet. Chidi saw this as a huge opportunity to showcase his talents more. He keyed in and offered to do the job for the youths free of charge.
The youths decided to try him. Young Chidi, keyed into this and drew one of the best portraits anyone can behold. On the day this portrait was presented, everyone was amazed.
The priests who attended the farewell party were astounded and many requested for the number of this young boy. Many friends and family members of the parish priest also collected his contact. This was how this little, and underrated boy got his breakthrough.
The parish later booked him for the repainting and decoration of the church premises. He mesmerised them more with his talent. Word spread about the extraordinary work Chidi had done, and soon people from neighbouring parishes and villages came to see the transformed parish centre.
This made the young boy known and popular and gave him a lot of connections.
The truth is that breakthroughs will remember us only when we decide to use the gifts God has bestowed on us, not necessarily for material gain but for the good of others and for God.
This will bring us enormous value and then open vast opportunities for us. Chidi’s talent and hard work had not only brought value to him but had changed his status forever.
This inspiring story reminds us that by leveraging our talents, skills, and hard work, we have the power to create value not only for ourselves but for those around us. By being passionate and using our abilities to make a positive impact, we can enrich lives and create a brighter future for all.
To be of Great Value
When we read the first reading and analyse it properly, we would find an inner connection between the message and the entire message of the gospel. Let us make a little analysis.
The first reading depicts a worthy or virtuous wife who is described as having great value. It describes a perfect wife as someone who is far beyond the price of pearls.
In the Jewish culture, Pearls were considered precious and valuable. They consider it a high value. They are often used as a symbol of beauty and luxury.
Due to her resourcefulness, the author considers her as an asset to her husband and brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She is diligent, resourceful, and takes care of her household.
In verses 19-20, we see her engaging in trade and working with her hands, ensuring that her family’s needs are met.
Therefore, the question is “what truly makes the wife a price of great pearls and a great value?”
Remember that, it mentions that “she seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands” and that “she is like the merchant ships, she brings her food from afar.”
This emphasises the woman’s industriousness, resourcefulness, and ability to provide for her household. This was what sets her apart.
Therefore, to be of great value we have to be highly resourceful to God and to humanity. We have to use what God has given us to work for His purpose. This was particularly captured in the parable of the talents in the gospel.
In the parable, those who invested and used the talents given to them were given more. They were elevated and became men of great value. Therefore, to be of great value is not measured by our level of beauty. According to the author , beauty is very empty. The concluding verses praise the perfect wife for her fear of the Lord and her wisdom, emphasising that beauty and charm are very empty, but a woman who fears the Lord should be praised.
This highlights the importance of diligence, resourcefulness, and the ability to work for others. It also emphasises the significance of fearing the Lord and pursuing wisdom.
This serves as a reminder to be proactive in our responsibilities, and to use our skills and abilities to the fullest.
This would be actually what will set us apart on the day of judgement because we shall surely give account of our stewardship back to God.
The first reading ends by saying “Give her a share in what her hands have worked for, and let her works tell her praises at the city gates”, which entails that our works will be the standard that will set us apart on that day.
Therefore, what good work are we doing?
This is the way to be of great value both here and after.
To be complacent means when one is already at home or comfortable with nothing or the small he or she has. It is when we do not actually care to improve.
Complacency is the secret of downfall. This is the actual problem with the third servant, the one with the one talent, in the gospel today.
He came forward and said to the master. “Sir, I heard you were a hard man, reaping where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered; so I was afraid, and I went off and hid your talent in the ground. Here it is; it was yours, you have it back.”
This particular servant was not interested in growing, he is satisfied with the status quo.
Therefore, If resourcefulness is the secret of being of great value, then complacency is the secret of downfall and worthlessness.
This is actually what Saint Paul is warning in the second reading. Saint Paul is reminding the Thessalonian believers that the day of the Lord will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. Therefore, they should not be caught off guard but remain alert and vigilant.
Writing to them, Saint Paul says “we do not belong to the night or to darkness, so we should not go on sleeping”.
So, we are not in this world to sleep away our gifts but to work with them.
Sleeping represents a state of spiritual complacency, ignorance, or even indulgence in sinful behaviour. On the other hand, being awake symbolises a state of spiritual alertness, sobriety, and preparedness. As Christians, we should not be complacent, lazy, passive or negligent in our faith and works.
Instead, we are called to be actively engaged in our relationship with God, continuously seeking His guidance, living according to His teachings and continually working for our salvation. Unable to do this, then life can take you unawares.
Using What God gives to Us to be of Great Value
The gospel teaches us to use what God gives us to be of great value. The context of these verses is Jesus teaching his disciples through a parable known as the Parable of the Talents. In this parable, a master entrusts his servants with different amounts of money (talents) before going on a journey.
1.The first two servants invest and multiply the talents given to them, with one gaining five talents and the other gaining two talents. They are commended by their master for being faithful and responsible with what they were given. However, the third servant, out of fear, buries his talent in the ground and returns it to the master without any increase.
2.The analysis of this passage reveals that God gives each of us unique gifts, abilities, and resources. These talents can be interpreted not only as material wealth but also as spiritual gifts, skills, knowledge, and opportunities.God entrusts us with these resources for a purpose – to use them wisely and multiply their value.
3.The master’s response in the parable reflects God’s expectation for us to be good stewards of what He has given us. God desires us to invest our talents, not only for our own growth and benefit but also for the advancement of His kingdom.
This implies using our gifts to serve others, to make a positive impact in the world, and to help bring about God’s purposes.
4.The question we have to ask then is “Are we utilising our time, abilities, and opportunities to their fullest potential? Are we investing them in ways that honour God and bless others? Or are we hiding, wasting, or squandering our talents out of fear, complacency, or self-interest?
5. We are called to be faithful and diligent in utilising our talents, recognizing that they are not truly our own but belong to God. It is through our faithful stewardship that we can experience personal growth and fulfil our calling to be co-workers with God in His mission. This is the way to be of great value and asset to the work of God, such as the perfect wife is an asset to the husband.
Complacency and Neglect of Our Gifts
The parable also highlights the consequences of neglecting our God-given talents.
The third servant, who buried his talent, faced severe judgement and had his talent taken away.
This emphasises the importance of not wasting or disregarding the opportunities and resources we have been given.
I continue to tell people that the easiest way to find breakthrough is working with the gifts God blesses us with. Until we decide to be using them, we shall continue to struggle.
This encourages us to be faithful and fruitful stewards of the gifts, resources, and opportunities that God has entrusted to us.
It reminds us of the importance of using our talents wisely, investing them in ways that honour God, and making a positive impact in the lives of others. By doing so, we can fulfil our purpose, become of great value and bring glory to God.
We shall Give Account
This is actually the reason for the gospel of today.
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.
We must take account of all the resources we squander, the talents we waste and the gifts we have neglected.
Therefore, 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 resources, positions, responsibilities, gifts, talents etc.
Fifteen Points to Consider about What God has given to You
Let us critically consider these fifteen points about all that God gives to us. They are:
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 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. This is how to be of great value.
3.God Gives differently
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 that 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 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.
Therefore, to be of great value, we do not have to wait until we have everything to start. 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.
- 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 the more we learn that thing. Growth comes from work. We work and pray. We do not pray and go to sleep. Therefore, We pray and go to 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.
We have to account for how we squander our time, resources, gifts , money etc. 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 decided 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 judgement 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 to be nothing is to do nothing at all.
- 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. Always be of great value.
- 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 her. Grace comes from what we do.
We do not fold our hands and wait for manna from heaven. On many occasions, it is through what we do that many good things come.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
(The above fifteen points can also serve as your conclusion). How do you feel about today’s reflection? Feel free to drop your comments at the comment section)
Happy Sunday and God bless you.
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