In today's Gospel, Jesus tells a parable inviting us to use whatever resources we have been given to do what needs to be done. He invites us to use our time, our talents and our treasure to help establish his reign on earth.
Here is another 'parable.' The C.E.O. of a major corporation was out for a Sunday afternoon drive with his wife when he got a bit thirsty and pulled into a gas station. It was an old, shabby little roadside station with but a single pump. He went inside to get a soda. Upon his return he found his wife chatting amicably with the station attendant. “Did you know that fellow?” he asked his wife as they drove away. “Oh, quite well,” she replied. “In fact we dated seriously during our senior year of high school.” “Well, aren't you lucky I came along,” bragged the husband. “If you'd have married him, you'd be the wife of a gas station attendant out here in the middle of nowhere instead of the wife of a millionaire like myself!” “No!” corrected his wife. “If I'd married him, he'd be the millionaire and you'd be the gas station attendant!”
As we sit here in this Chapel this morning, we need to recognize that each of us has the time, talent and treasure to help each other – no exceptions! We are not self-made people, not a one of us, no matter how much we'd like to think we are. In fact we are here today because other people have given their time, talent and treasure to help us become who we are. In each of our lives there have been certain people whose goodness, understanding and wisdom have deeply inspired us.
Think of those heroes in our lives, the ones who made a difference: the grandma who comforted us when all the world seemed hostile, the uncle who played basketball with us when no one else would, the priest who told us that God certainly loves us when classmates called us jerks, the teacher who saw the promise in us when no one else did, the friend who gave us a handshake and hug when everyone else walked away. These are our personal heroes. They didn't walk into burning buildings to save our lives, but they are still our heroes. They saw something good in us that other people couldn't or wouldn't see. And they gave us their time, talent and treasure so that we in turn could do the same for others.
So let's not be like the servant in today's Gospel parable who buries talents and gifts in the ground because he's afraid of losing them and thus inviting his Master's displeasure. It's the very act of burying the gifts he was given that invites his Master's displeasure! Let's be like the two servants who wisely decide to use their gifts to the fullest. Let's use whatever gifts and talents we have been given: the precious gift of time – simply being there for people who need us – patience in suffering, good listening skills, compassion, an understanding heart, a wise tongue, good health, skilled hands, humor, wonder, delight, creativity, imagination.
God has given each of us many wonderful gifts and talents. God invites us to identify them and place them at the service of others. Only in using these talents and gifts to serve others do we give adequate thanks to the Living God who is the source of all worthwhile gifts.