Soul Blog inspired by Psalm 123 and Matthew 25:14-30
In this parable about the Kingdom of Heaven, the Master praises the two who have used their talents to earn more money, but the one who buried it in the ground got into a lot of trouble. In fact, he is thrown out into darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Is this fair? What did he do that was so terrible?
Rev. Fleming McGurgan says:
“I mean, given what we have seen in the stock market and heard on the news in the past few months, digging a hole and burying some cash in the back pasture doesn’t sound so crazy, now, does it?
Everyone who laughed at Aunt Edna—
(you remember Aunt Edna–
she stashed all of her money
in an old lard can under the loose floorboard)
is having second thoughts today.
Maybe Aunt Edna had the right idea,
all along. Maybe taking risks—with banks, with investments,with demanding bosses, with life itself—is just too sketchy… too uncertain…too dangerous.
After all, if you hide your treasure in a lard can or a cigar box, or in a deep, deep hole behind the wood pile, you know exactly what you’ve got and where you stand.
You may not double your investment.
You may not impress your relatives or astonish your boss—
In fact, the entire world may treat you as their very own Aunt Edna… but at least it’s safe.”
Jesus is not in the fairness business, nor is Jesus in the safety business. Jesus is in the business of growing souls, developing people and increasing their wealth as human beings. Jesus is in the business of giving everything, even unto death. Everything.
The person who is unwilling to take a risk at anything new is not going to grow but is going to remain stagnant. It isn’t just the young, the adventurous and the energetic who are able to take risks. No matter our circumstance, we can all take risks.
But what risks does Jesus have in mind?
He is talking about taking “his property” that he has entrusted to us, and turning it into something more by investing it in some way.
He is talking about getting over our fear of what other people might say, of our inadequacy in new situations, or anything at all that stands in our way to increase the harvest of goodness in the lives of those around us, and in our own lives also.
The man who is given one talent (worth about 1000 dollars, and considered back then to be almost half a year’s salary) obviously is not as capable as the other two people who are given a greater share of the Master’s property.
Still, he has just as much opportunity to increase its value as the others. He could have outshone them if he’d tried.
But the truth is he does not understand the opportunity that is before him. He does not even understand the Master. He says: “Master, I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed.”
Where does he come up with the idea that the Master, Jesus, is a hard man? He is obviously misinformed, latching onto his own ideas, and his own pettiness. He reaps what he has sewn. What he believes comes back and bites him. Jesus responds to his fear by throwing him outside into the darkness.
But he was already in the darkness.
His lack of understanding was a form of darkness.
His wrong-thinking was a form of darkness.
His fear was a form of darkness.
God is abundantly giving. God is light.
Those who give without worry about who is getting what back, those who generously share all they are and all they’ve learned for the good of other people and the world will always grow in more goodness and abundance.
They become the light because they are givers of the light.
Imagine a world without light, a world when the sun never comes up, where there are no stars and no moon. Imagine a world where there are no candles and no electric lights. Imagine a world of such utter blindness that there is no common decency.
Obviously, human beings are capable of great harm as well as great good.
We become the darkness or the light of the world.
We, as Rev. Fleming McGurgan says are
“Like the servants in this story, offered by God a partnership. The 5-talent and 2-talent servants saw the partnership as an opportunity—an adventure to be explored. They knew that what the Master gave them could easily be lost, stolen, invested badly—but they took the risk anyway.
The third servant saw the partnership as a burden—a potential landmine to be feared. He knew that what the Master gave him could easily be lost, stolen, invested badly—and so he opted for damage control.
This servant avoided the challenge of partnership, only to find that playing it safe can be the biggest risk of all.
…This story reminds us that we worship a God who is willing to invest in us. A God who is willing to make a bet and take a risk.
This story reminds us that if we play it safe and risk nothing in return, we actually risk everything.”
We must overcome our fear of being wrong,
Our fear of what people will think,
Our fear of being found out,
Our fear of losing everything,
Our fear of not measuring up,
And give one hundred percent to everything we do, trusting God, who has entrusted us with talents.
Jesus showed us that even death need not be feared.
We will live eternally as fully as we have lived our lives in the here and now. But do not feel bad for sometimes being afraid. We are often afraid. We are, after all, only human. It is hard to face medical tests, examinations, new jobs, life changes. That’s all right. When you feel afraid, when you tremble, when you feel lost, when you feel as if you are in the darkness, remember Jesus on the Cross, and remember Jesus is always walking within your increasing understanding.
Take the risk:
When you are sick, be kind to the nurses and medical people. Offer your courage to others.
When you are lonely, reach out to those who are also lonely.
When you are addicted, seek help not only for yourself, but also for those around you who need your experience to help them.
When you’ve got a test to take, study hard, be prepared and give it your all.
When you are uncertain, trust loving God is with you and all-powerful God is for you.
Become Children of Light.
Listen to an old Gospel hymn: Send the Light Gospel, by the way, means Good News.
Become the light in your own way. Listen to Ellie Goulding – Lights