Jesus told many stories or parables to explain a biblical principle. Sometimes the meaning of the story seemed to be obscure and hard to understand, and the disciples would question Jesus further. So what is the message in this story, commonly known as the parable of the talents?
The parable of the ‘talents’ or ‘bags of gold.’
Jesus tells a story, of a master and his relationship with his three servants. He entrusts them with his wealth, and gives five bags, two bags and then one bag of gold, to his servants, according to their ability. Then the master goes away on a journey.
After a long time he returns to see what has happened to his investment. The servant with five bags has managed to gain five more, also the servant with three bags has gained three more. Both are commended by their master – what good servants. They had been faithful and productive. They had put to good use what they had been given.
But the servant with the one bag of gold had buried it in the ground, he had just hidden it away. When questioned by his master, his explanation was, he knew his master was a hard man and he was afraid to try and use what he had been given. He is condemned by his master, for his laziness. He is told, that at the very least, he should have deposited the money in a bank where it could have gained interest.
What is so interesting to me about the ‘parable of the talents’ is that there is one master. He is, however, perceived by his servants in two completely different ways. Two of the servants are confident to try and put to good use what they have been given. They do not show any fear of their master. The servant who buried his gift in the ground, views his master in a different way. He is ruled by fear!
Fear paralyses us, for when we become fearful, we are afraid of making a mistake. We are afraid of getting it wrong and messing up. When we become controlled by fear our default button is to do precisely nothing! But we have been released from fear, we are dearly loved by God.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”1 John 4:18
Love mobilises us, to try, and to step out in faith. Maybe to even do something different that we have never done before and see where it takes us! In the ‘parable of the talents’ the master did not accept the servant’s excuse of being afraid, he challenged him about his lack of motivation. He should have done something, rather than just hiding his gift. He should at least have placed it in a bank, where it might have gained interest.
The season of growth
Inspired by Bird Song
At the moment I wake early every morning and listen to a unique choir, singing a new endless arrangement. The season of singing, of bird song, is springtime – the hardships of winter are over, and the sun is appearing from behind the clouds. The birds are unrestrained, they recognise the season that they are in, and they sing to the best of their ability. Each makes their own sound, they don’t hold back, they are as loud as they possibly can be!
They are inspiring to embrace ‘springtime’ in our own lives, this could be our season of growth. We each have our own unique gifts and this could be the time to try something new – to step out into the wide open space of God’s grace. There is a place and room there for everyone to fulfill their God given potential. Our responsibility is to try, not to bury our gift but to see if it ‘gains interest’. We leave the outcome to our Master, God. What a great place to be, a place of freedom!