PROVERBS 31:10-13. 1 THESSALONIANS 5:1-6. MATTHEW 25:14-30
The Gospel reading today is the well -known parable of the talents. It tells of a man who was going on a long journey. He divided his possessions among three of his servants. Two of them invested what was given to them and doubled it! They were rewarded for their work; they were given greater responsibilities. The third buried what was entrusted to him. He was punished by being thrown “into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”
The key to our understanding the message of this parable is bound up with our definition of “talent.” Today we see the word “talent” and immediately think of our God-given abilities. It’s OK to interpret the parable that way, but it tends to limit the teaching by focusing it too much on our artistic, mental or physical abilities.
In Jesus’ day a talent was a measure of weight, about 75 of our pounds. Its value depended on what was being weighed, copper, gold or silver. In the parable one servant
Though this parable doesn’t begin with the well -known phrase, “the kingdom of God is like,” it IS a parable about the kingdom. God assesses our abilities and apportions the kingdom of God among us with the expectation that we’ll make our portion grow. It’s interesting that what God gives us needs to be given away if our portion of the kingdom is going to expand and grow.
Here’s another way of putting it. The kingdom is in each one of us. When we pour out our lives for the good of others, the kingdom begins to manifest itself. If we bury the kingdom within us, we’ve not only lost the opportunity to partner with God in transforming the world into the kingdom, the portion of the kingdom that was given to us will stagnate within us. We ourselves will be left outside the kingdom where we will mourn our missed opportunity with “wailing and grinding of teeth.”
PRAYER My Father in heaven I freely offer myself to you as your servant. I pray that I may assist you in transforming this struggling earth of ours into your kingdom of peace and harmony, of compassion and caring, of mutual respect and love. Amen.