Jesus tells us of "a man going on a journey," a man who "called his servants and entrusted his property to them." The man is Jesus himself, going away to prepare a place for us, but with the enduring promise of return. We, the servants, are given everything "in trust," not as possessors of this wealth, but as stewards of it. We recognize that it does not belong to us.
We know not of the timing of the Master’s return, whether imminent or in an unseen distant future. The property is distributed in the form of talents, a denomination of money, yet representing something far more valuable, far more significant. Our own English word, talent, is derived from the broader meaning implied in the potent story shared by our Lord.
Jesus tells of these talents divided between three servants "each according to his ability," before the Master sets on his journey.
A talent in the time of the Storyteller was of considerable value – approximately twenty years’ wages for an average laborer. Twenty years of sweat and toil. Twenty years of blood and tears. Twenty years of sacrifice and choices. The gifts were vast in nature and, consequently, adequate for a diversity of applications. One servant received five talents. To the next was given two. And to the last was provided one…small comparatively, yet still immense in weight and value. Of note is that all received gifts. None was left wanting. All was entrusted. All was given and all received.
Of proportional distribution comes proportional expectation. Each was called upon to steward their respective gift in accordance with their ability to do so. No more was expected, just what was already observed and concluded…known before time. No servant was required to steward above his capability and opportunity. But every servant was required to be faithful to what was given.
The story continues with the servant who had received five talents going "at once" to put the money to work. "So also" with the man that was given two talents. There was immediate action, a sense of urgency, an excitement to produce, not knowing the day or hour of the Master’s return.
So may it be with us also. How many of the faithful have set a future goal or window in time to employ the passions bestowed upon them? Why do we postpone, in the name of wisdom and sensibility, liberating our gifts now? In the meantime, the melodic words remain sealed in the mind of the poet; the keys remain silent on the piano yearning to burst forth with harmony; the colors remain muted, refused the light that brings out their glory; and the world is cheated of passionate people making passionate contributions.
Our gifts are not for "when the children have left home." Our gifts are not for those "golden years" to come. The equipping and promise is already present. Our gifts are for the here and now, for a church that needs edification, and for a God that begs to see them unleashed for His children’s sanctification and His resultant honor.
To be continued…