One of Jesus’ most significant parables regarding work is set in the context of investments (Matt. 25:14-30). A rich man delegates the management of his wealth to his servants, much as investors in today’s markets do. He gives five talents (a large unit of money) to the first servant, two talents to the second, and one talent to the third. Two of the servants earn 100 percent returns by trading with the funds, but the third servant hides the money in the ground and earns nothing. The rich man returns, rewards the two who made money, but severely punishes the servant who did nothing.
The meaning of the parable extends far beyond financial investments. God has given each person a wide variety of gifts each blanketed in love, and he expects us to employ those gifts in his service as signs of faith, hope, and trust. It is not acceptable merely to put those gifts on a closet shelf and ignore them. Like the three servants, we do not have gifts of the same degree. The return God expects of us is commensurate with the gifts we have been given. The servant who received one talent was not condemned for failing to reach the five-talent goal; he was condemned because he did nothing with what he was given. He prohibited the love from growing. The gifts we receive from God include skills, abilities, family connections, social positions, education, experiences, and more. The point of the parable is that we are to use whatever we have been given for God’s purposes. The severe consequences to the unproductive servant, far beyond anything triggered by mere business mediocrity, tell us that we are to invest our lives, not waste them.
So far, most of my talents will not earn me any measure of a wage or financial benefit. However, I am grateful for the bountiful joy that is harvested whenever I reach within myself, sometimes with one eye shut-tight, to twist open the handle of the door & take those gifts from the closet; as well as to embrace sharing them with others. What I have most times created is driven from the desire of bringing peace, love & happiness to others because I do believe, as the wise Vincent Van Gogh proclaimed (who by the way was a man of deep personal faith) “I feel there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.”
My father had a wonderful artistic talent & God sprinkled a little of that grace in me too; so every time I ‘lasso’ the courage to dabble creatively I feel connected, not only to my earthy father, but more importantly my Heavenly One as well! I watch the ‘returns’ this talent brings in the joy of others when they appreciate this penny-valued dabbling…and it’s weight is pure gold to me!
As I approach the next Season of my life I truly hope I may encourage others to share their talents more confidently too…no matter the financial value, because Joy is measured beyond all the riches of the commerce market! The peace, love & joy which manifests as a result is the creative measure of love, given to us by Our Greatest Creator..and it is the only measure which matters in the end.
What is the treasure that you will invest in?
“Don’t wait for other people to be loving, giving, compassionate, grateful, forgiving, generous, or friendly…lead the way!”
my hugs n’ blessings are sprinkled out as you open up & air out those closets!