Today’s scriptures provide us with a great definition of the kind of person we are called to be as well as how we are to live our lives. The Book of Proverbs is a good place to find practical advice about life.
Today’s reading from there, describes a good faithful woman, who is a gracious wife and mother who does all her household duties faithfully and efficiently and finds time to reach out to the poor and needy. Since she practices love for both God and her neighbor, it says that “Her value is far beyond that of a pearl.
The parable in today’s Gospel was originally meant for Jesus followers as good advice to the early Christian community as how they were to behave in the period following Jesus’ Resurrection and Ascension while they await Jesus’ imminent second coming. That is essentially the time in which each of us is in today. As in the parable, each of us receives a variable amount of God-given talents. Some of us receive many talents and others have fewer, just as brought out in the parable. As we heard the Master gave 5 talents to one servant, 2 to another and one to the third. Point of information: In Jesus’ day one talent was worth about 15 years wages for a simple day laborer. In the parable, through trading, investing and hard work, the servants with 5 talents and 2 talents managed to double the amount they had received from their Master. The third servant, the one who had been given one talent, buried it in the ground because he was afraid of the Master’s reaction if he, the servant, did take a chance, and was unable to increase the amount of talents he had been given. Because of the initiative by the first two servants the Master defined them as good and faithful and he defined the 3rd servant as wicked and slothful.
Clearly, the Master did not want security but desired initiative.
The message for us today is the same. God wants us to use our initiative and spread and expand the peoples’ knowledge of his truths and as well expand God’s Kingdom here on earth utilizing our talents. God does his part by first giving us talents, provides each of us with the guidance to identify our current talent or talents and the initiative to utilize they productively.
There is a great example of a person with limited talents who identified his current talent and used it productively. His name was Antonio and he loved music. It just happened that he had a high squeaky voice and he couldn’t pass the audition for the boys’ choir he would like to have joined. He thought, well maybe, he could play and instrument and he took up the violin. You know how much squeaking in heard when a person is just learning and that must really true for him. It was so bad that the neighbors convinced his parents to make him stop. He found that the only talent he had was woodcarving and he became the apprentice of a violin make named Nicholas Amati. His talent grew and he started his own violin-making business. He was blessed with 93 years of life and in that time he produced over 1500 violins which now sell for more than $100,000 each. His full name is Antonio Stradivari and his violins are known as Stradivarious. What a great utilization of one talent!
God doesn’t give us gifts and talents so that we will hide them or turn them to selfish ends. Every one of us has been uniquely constituted by the Lord, to play a role in the advancement of his kingdom, using all the resources/talents he has given us. We can be assured that any initiatives we take to use our gifts will be blessed. He trusted us and gifted each of us with life, sent his Son to show us how to live and use our talents. Jesus, like Antonio, didn’t stay with his initial talent, in Jesus’ case a carpenter, but moved on to become the ultimately talented preacher.
Our challenge every day is to be seen by God as a diligent, industrious and loyal faithful follower of Jesus, utilizing the current talent or talents God has bless us with and give God reason to say as he said to the first two servants in today’s Gospel, “Well done, my good and faithful servants, come share My joy”, when He calls us home.