The Parable of the Talents
Have you ever had to leave your home for an extended period of time and entrust your property to someone until you return?
What are some of the things you worry about?
Will the doors still be attached to their hinges?
Is the carpet torn?
Has someone rammed the car into the garage door?
It’s a scary thought, isn’t it?
Take a moment and suppose you’re the tenant—one entrusted to care for another’s property. You’ve been given all the tools needed for its upkeep.
- The gardener has been arranged to come once a week to cut the lawn.
- The sprinklers are timed perfectly to come on in the morning and late in the evening.
- The maid is scheduled to come in twice a week to clean.
- The utilities are paid through an automatic draft.
- The home is paid for and no rent or mortgage is due.
All is necessary is you keep a visible presence so no harm is brought upon you or the property.
The owner of the home, however, is delayed and his return is unknown. For many reasons, you grow restless. Then careless. Things are spilled on the stainless-steel stove and you are slow to keep it clean, making it harder for the maid to scrub out the mess. Many maids don’t clean the refrigerator, and your laziness is evident by the stink fanning in your face each time you open the refrigerator door. As the days grow long, and the owner is further delayed, you grow more restless, sloughing on the couch, leaving behind paper wrappers, filled garbage cans, causing the maid to work longer hours and leave many things undone.
Out of anger and frustration, out of loneliness and depression, you ram your fist in the wall because you are bored, you are alone, you don’t know what to do with such a large house and your weariness to leave the comfort of this beautiful home grows by the day.
In contrast, your best friend house-sits for a living because the pandemic has taken away good-paying jobs. Word is spread of his faithfulness, his diligence, and his attention to detail. As a result, he is not only paid fifty percent more than most, he receives steady work as compensation for the meticulous care of his master’s property.
Think this story is too far-fetched?
Before you were born, God knew you. He made every hair on your head, formed every bone in your body. He made you perfect. He made you different. He clothed you with talents, gifts, a way of speaking, tics and habits that define only you. He’s equipped you with everything you need, and has even extended enough kindness to give you some of what you want.
All you need to do is feed the body, keep the body clean, offer it in worship to God, keep it spiritually fed.
But too often we feed on nonsense: the wrong television programs, terrible and scary movies, dating and marrying men outside the body, feeding off hate and discord instead of truth and spiritual peace. And yet, while we partake in such things, we still expect God to bless us. I caution you: if you’re not being blessed, could it be associated with your lack of obedience?
Perhaps it is.
In Matthew 25:14-30, the servants weren’t punished because they didn’t profit by the same amount. No. They were rewarded according to their willingness to replicate their talents. Each servant invested his talents and doubled the return. That is, except one. Out of fear of judgment, one servant buried his talent.
I can’t help but think of Itzhak Perlman (pronounced E-Sok) as I write this piece. Itzhak is a seventy-five-year-old Israeli-American—a classical violinist, conductor, and music teacher—who stunned the world with his exquisite ability to play the violin. He has performed throughout all over the world. At age four, Itzhak contracted polio, and has been unable to walk without the aid of crutches ever since.
Why do I bring up this story?
On the surface, you and I can sit and make a list of things we can’t do if we were to lose our ability to walk. It never occurs to us to make a list of things we can accomplish regardless of our circumstances.
If you were to read Itzhak Perlman’s accomplishments, you would never see his “can’t” list. You would rather gape at his accomplishments, in awe, as he sits in a chair to be introduced, never noticing the crutches on the floor next to his chair … Until he attempts to stand.
It is then that your mind races in wonder … How is he going to play that tiny instrument and hold himself up?
But when Itzhak pulls on the first string, your wonder transforms to a spectacular and glorious reality. His music seems to tiptoe … then rise and dip … skip and playfully lift the soul.
I don’t have any musical talents. I don’t know where the “C” key is located on a piano, or what part the black keys play when composing a tune. But I can appreciate Itzhak’s talent. Above all, I appreciate his tenacity to focus on his abilities rather than on his disabilities.
Hidden in your shell of a body is a gift. We’re all born with one. Like the servants in Matthew 25, some are blessed with several talents. Itzhak took his one gift and doubled it, blessing the entire world with it. God expects you to do the same with the talent he’s given you. You and I may never become classical composers, but we will become something grand.
To unleash that grandeur, we must not become lazy servants and dig a hole to hide our gift.
The Holy Spirit has been speaking to you for a long time, urging you to get up and get busy. What better time than now? When the world needs you most. When your gift is at the height of fulfillment. When there is so much to be done.
In Matthew 9:37, it reads:
“Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.’”
In John 4:35, it reads:
“Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.”
If you don’t seize the moment, you are plagued with guilt and unfulfillment. Sooner or later you become bitter, angry, jealous, envious … filled with a contentious spirit, greedy, wanton.
God intends for you to invest your life, invest your wealth, invest your resources; not waste them. The foolish are neglectful and abuse the power entrusted to them … acting out of fear … afraid to take risks … more interested in protecting their own well-being.
You are called to live righteous lives, in full obedience which brings about freedom so you can perform to your potential.
In the wake of this pandemic, we haven’t been able to “step out” for a while now. Have we? Our Gucci bags are collecting dust—the leather is rotting; so is the leather on our Prada red-soled shoes. Our diamonds will remain for another’s hand … or wrist … or neck. Corners of our fine homes are collecting gossamer trappings … meals for creepy things as we await another opportunity to host needless parties so we can flaunt our riches.
This pandemic is teaching us that none of those things have meaning. The pandemic is sifting our priorities like wheat, leaving behind whatever we thought was relative to our lives.
What is left once your priorities are sifted? What was so important to you? Who did you put before the Holy One? Who’s sitting on God’s Holy Throne? Who distracted and convinced you to disobey our Holy Father? What intoxicating music or filthy words captivated and lured you away from the Truth?
The pandemic is sifting you like wheat, and I want to know what’s left of you?
What should remain is your endurance and faithfulness in the Holy One. What should remain is your steadfast love for the brotherhood. What should remain is your godliness and righteous living … until the owner of your spiritual house returns.
We are called to be good stewards—to serve the brotherhood of believers, to feed the hungry, to entertain strangers, to visit the sick, to comfort the weak, to pray without ceasing, to—above all—love one another.
When the bridegroom returns, you will be held accountable. Mother can’t help you. Daddy will be speechless. Siblings will hide. Friends will flee. You are alone at the feet of our Holy Father to give account of what you KNEW to do and failed to do because you were too afraid to take a risk to open your home, cook a meal, visit a prisoner, or love the unloving.
You have a choice.
Be obedient and follow his commands.
Or dig a hole, bury your talent, and await the judgment.
There are no gray areas. There are no other options.
It’s up to you.
Yes, your Spiritual Accountability is completely your own. You won’t be able to hide. And your excuses won’t be enough!
Sisters, the choice is yours. You’ve been exposed. You and God fully know. Answer the call or ignore it. But with certainty, you will be held Spiritually Accountable for all that you do, or don’t do.
It’s up to you.
Donna B. Comeaux
October 15, 2020
This is Lesson #261 and the audio is below:
(in other words, I don’t need anything or anyone)
October 10, 2020
At times I wonder what will get me out of my chair, away from my home to intermingle with those in spiritual need; to become more active in the body of Christ. In order to confront this dilemma, I must face some hard truths about myself.
Why would I not want to share my life?
To be honest, fear. To be honest, I’ve been there; done that. To be honest, I have what I need.
But isn’t God’s idea of sharing our lives with one another more about you … more about other people?
“7On the contrary, we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother caring for her children. 8 We cared so deeply that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our own lives as well. That is how beloved you have become to us.” (I Thessalonians 2:7-8)
Are you kidding me?
You mean I’m to care so deeply about you that I should be “delighted to share myself?”
As I look around my home … at my things … at my lack of need, I’m ashamed to say that I often feel like the rich man in Luke 12:16-20. Let’s read it.
“And he told them this parable: ‘The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink, and be merry.’
But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’” (Luke 12:16-20)
What we store up and prepare for ourselves on this side of heaven offers no keys to God’s kingdom. My home, much like yours, is filled with everything this life can provide. And one day I will die, leave it behind, and in the end, it will all BURN UP!!
God’s goodness is evident in our lives today. Each of us is rich to whatever level God has chosen for us. Though it may be unsettling to step out of our comfort zones to fulfill the needs of others, it is no less demanded of us.
Obedience is a command. Obedience should not be determined by your mood, or hinged to the few minutes that remain at the end of your day. God will not be shy in keeping his promises to you—either to bless you, or to punish you for your complacent behavior.
I have been complacent. Pray for me.
Let’s encourage each other to remember God’s commands; to spur each other forward to do and to act out his will for our lives, regardless of how we may feel toward the task in front of us or how we may feel toward our sisters and brothers.
Prayer: Oh, God, please begin with me. Mold me. Shape me in any way necessary until your will is fully magnified through your mercy and grace.
Challenge: Search your hearts to find the most uncomfortable thing to do for someone else. Pray to God for help. Then, pick up the phone, get in your car, write a note, or do whatever is necessary to fulfill God’s commands for your life. And remember, it could be that you need to let others do for you. Hard, isn’t it?
Donna B. Comeaux
No other credentials other than
being a child of God.