14 "For it will be as when a man going on a journey called his servants and entrusted to them his property; 15 to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them; and he made five talents more. 17 So also, he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, `Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.' 21 His master said to him, `Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.' 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, `Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.' 23 His master said to him, `Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.' 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, `Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not winnow; 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.' 26 But his master answered him, `You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sowed, and gather where I have not winnowed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to every one who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.'
Meditation: What can economics and productivity teach us about
the kingdom of heaven? Jesus' story about a businessman who leaves
town and entrusts his money with his workers made perfect sense to his
audience. Wealthy merchants and businessmen often had to travel abroad
and leave the business to others to handle while they were gone.
Why did Jesus tell this story? Most importantly it tells us
something about how God deals with us, his servants. The parable
speaks first of the Master's trust in his servants. While he goes
away he leaves them with his money to use as they think best. While
there were no strings attached, this was obviously a test to see if the
Master's workers would be industrious and reliable in their use of the
money entrusted to them. Third, the master rewards those who are
industrious and faithful and he punishes those who sit by idly and who
do nothing with his money. The essence of the parable seems to lie
in the servants' conception of responsibility. Each servant entrusted with
the master's money was faithful up to a certain point. The servant
who buried the master's money was irresponsible. One can bury seeds
in the ground and expect them to become productive because they obey
natural laws. Coins, however, do not obey natural laws. They obey
economic laws and become productive in circulation. The master expected
his servants to be productive in the use of his money. What do coins
and the law of economics have to do with the kingdom of God?
The Lord entrusts the subjects of his kingdom with gifts and graces and
he gives his subjects the freedom to use them as they think best. With
each gift and talent, God gives sufficient the means (grace and wisdom)
for using them in a fitting way. As the parable of the talents shows, God
abhors indifference and an attitude that says it's not worth trying. God
honors those who use their talents and gifts for doing good. Those who
are faithful with even a little are entrusted with more! But those who
neglect or squander what God has entrusted to them will lose what they
have. There is an important lesson here for us. No one can stand still
for long in the Christian life. We either get more or we lose what we have.
We either advance towards God or we slip back. Do you earnestly seek to
serve God with the gifts, talents, and graces he has given to you?
"Lord, be the ruler of my heart and thoughts, be the king of my home and relationships, and be the master of my work and service. Help me to make good use of the gifts, talents, time, and resources you give me for your glory and your kingdom."