In today’s gospel (Matthew 25: 14-30) Jesus tells the parable of the man who is going on a journey and leaves his treasure with his servants. With one he leaves 5 “talents” and with another 2 and with the last he leaves 1.
Two of the servants go out into the world and use their “talents.” One of the servants finds the whole thing too risky, so he keeps his buried.
When the master returns he gives the two servants who multiplied their “talents” a pat on the back. “Well done, my good and faithful servant,” he says.
He scolds the guy who, out of fear, hid what the master gave him. He even calls him wicked and lazy.
This parable always confused me. I think because I kind of saw the “lazy” servant as being prudent. He was being careful. I can relate to that. It felt like he got a bad rap.
Today, I realize it’s because he acted out of fear and he kept the gifts given to him locked up and that wasn’t really the point.
In this story, “talent” doesn’t mean a pronounced individual quality like we use the word today, but I think it can be helpful to think of it like that.
We are all given different talents, right? All of us are given according to our ability. We are given what is good for us and what is good for the world. God knows us intimately and He gifts us with what is good and just and right for us specifically.
It can be scary to go out into the world and share your talents. It can feel safer to keep it all private, right?
That’s not the point, though. We are not called to play if safe. What good is it if we keep the treasure He gives us hidden in our hearts?
Pope Francis says Jesus does not ask us to store His grace in a safe, but to use it for the benefit of others.
That’s why the nervous servant was scolded, because he missed the point. Our talents are meant to be shared. The world needs what YOU have to share and it is selfish, not prudent, to stuff down your talent just because the whole thing seems too risky. The only way to multiply our talent is by going out into the world and sharing them.
At the end of this life, our Master will examine what we did with the talent given to us. Have you acted out of fear and buried your talent? Or, have you gone out into the world and multiplied them?