Pastor Michael Frye:
Talent was not a denomination of money, rather a weight whose value depended upon whether it was copper, silver, or gold.
One talent equaled 15 years of wages for the common laborer five talents would represent an entire lifetime of wages.
Matthew’s Gospel rightfully attaches a double meaning to Jesus’ words by allegorizing the talent as the gifts that God has bestowed upon us and expects that those gifts will be used to glorify his name and his kingdom.
Jewish thought was that God blesses those who do their tasks well, which is why they adhered so tenaciously to the laws and traditions of their ancestors.
They sought to build a fence around the law allowing no changes or alterations.
This had led to a stagnation of creativity and spontaneity within the Jewish community.
There was no sense of adventure or engagement with others as they sought to insulate themselves from being distracted by the ways of the world.
Jesus was not impressed with the piety of the religious leaders.
He felt that There could be no true religious fervor without their using the knowledge, the gifts, and talents that God the Father had given them.
So they became the third servant in the parable who was so afraid of losing what the master had entrusted to him that he chose to keep it secure without drawing upon it to expand the master’s possessions.
The other two servants saw the value of what the master had entrusted to them, so they were driven to multiply what had been given to them.
They weren’t afraid to take the chance of investing what had been entrusted to them and growing it for the master’s benefit.
Jesus teaches that every talent, skill, and possession that we have is a precious gift from God.
God expects us to celebrate these gifts, not by burying them away or keeping them to ourselves, but by investing them through hard work and sharing them with our neighbors as a witness to what God has done and will continue to do for his creation.
Just as the passage from Zephaniah attests, we humans continue to be fearful of the unknowns that lie ahead, which tends to make us cautious and unwilling to take the kind of risks that Christ encourages his disciples to take.
The third servant in Christ’s parable was chastised, not so much for failing to invest the master’s wealth as he was for being afraid to use what the master had entrusted to him to bring about a greater result on his behalf.
His fear closed him off from the master’s having given him an opportunity to share the master’s joy and generosity ten or a hundredfold.
Christian disciples, such as you and I, have nothing to fear in taking what God has entrusted to us and using it effectively for the sake of the Gospel. It is a matter of trust.
We all have been given talents, abilities and possessions that God expects will be used aggressively and unapologetically in order to extend God’s kingdom until he comes again.
We have no idea how much time we have to wait.
But while we wait, we must be creative and courageous in using what God has given us.
Burying God’s gifts get us nowhere as far as our fulfilling God’s expectations of our good management of those gifts.
“Do I trust God to keep his promises?”
That is a good question for us to ask ourselves every day; because, our answer to that question will help to set the tone of the day and will determine how we go about doing God’s will and God’s work.
If I trust only in myself or in things other than God’s grace and mercy, then I may find little joy or satisfaction in having achieved something on God’s behalf.
Laurie Miller asks a good question in her commentary on this text: “Do we forfeit the joy of faith because we are more worried about what God can do to us (adherence to LAW) rather than experience the abundance of what we have been given (GRACE)?
There is so much we can be fearful of in this world: cancer or other debilitating illnesses, job loss, terrorism, the loss of a loved one, to name a few; but, our Lord encourages us to set aside our fears in favor of trusting that God is with us every step of the way during our time of waiting.
In the meantime, there is joy to be found in feeding the hungry and bringing comfort to the homeless, seeking out those who are hopelessly lost and giving them assurance that God has a place for them, providing an inviting and
encouraging place for people to feel welcomed and loved.
God never demands from us what we do not have; God does expect that we use what we have to the fullest of our abilities.
God also bestows different gifts upon his children; it isn’t the gift that we have that matters – it is how we use that gift that is important.
There is no gift that is too small or insignificant in God’s eyes.
The more we experience our gifts and talents, we find that God makes it possible for us to handle even greater tasks and responsibilities.
There is nothing to fear in trying and stumbling along the way.
We trust in our Lord’s forgiveness, in his guidance and encouragement, and in his promise that he is always with us.
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, keep you hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.