What type of people are we? Would we describe ourselves as predominantly adventurous or overly cautious? How creative are we with the talents that God has given us? These are relevant questions to ask when determining whether or not we use and develop God’s many and varied gifts.
The parable of the talents has universal application. It is a parable for all people and for all times. It teaches us much about human nature and the numerous types of people in our world and in our Church. In particular, it invites us to reach our full human potential by using creatively the gifts with which God has blessed us.
Our various talents are an expression of God’s love for us as, indeed, is life itself, which is the greatest of all God’s gifts. As expressions of God’s love, our talents are not intended to be hidden or to remain unused. Rather, they are meant to be developed by us as a sign that we appreciate God’s love and blessing.
God does not give us talents just for ourselves. Our strengths and talents are best used for the good of other people and for the good of the Church. This is how we honour and glorify God. Unfortunately, many of us may hide our talents or, even worse, we may waste them by using them in useless and often sinful ways.
For example, we may know that we are effective communicators. Yet we choose not to use our gift of communication to convey the teachings of the gospel and the Church because we do not want to be unpopular. We prefer to remain undisturbed. Nevertheless, if we took a risk and communicated the truth we might bring another person consolation and happiness. Ultimately we might be God’s instrument in guiding that person to salvation.
Similarly, we may have been blessed with gifts of listening and patience. But if we do not use these talents to bring peace and harmony to troubled relationships around us, we are wasting God’s wonderful gifts.
Occasionally, we think that other people are more talented than we are and we envy them. Or we observe people ignoring and wasting their obvious strengths and talents — strengths and talents that we do not have — and we are moved to self-pity. We always remember, however, that God has blessed each one of us with a unique combination of gifts and talents that he expects us to use and develop. These talents vary considerably and we do not all receive the same gifts and strengths, either in kind or in abundance.
The invitation is to trust God by using and developing our talents and strengths to the best of our ability. Thus our personal talents complement the talents that other people lack and we enable them to share with us the strengths that we lack. In effect, by refusing to be creative and generous, we cause our talents to die. By using them well we demonstrate that we are faithful and trustworthy.
What type of people are we? Do we use our talents creatively or do we hide them? The challenge of the parable of the talents is to recognise our God-given talents and strengths so that we can use and develop them as we help to build the kingdom of God in our world.
You have shown you can be faithful in small things. I will trust you with greater; come and join in your master’s happiness. (Mt 25:21)
Gospel Reflections Courtesy of Catholic Ireland