WE CANNOT TAKE GOD’S GIFTS AND USE THEM ONLY FOR OUR PLEASURE
(A biblical reflection on the 33rd ORDINARY SUNDAY, 16 November 2014)
Gospel Reading: Matthew 25:14-30
First Reading: Proverbs 31:10-13,19-20,30-31; Psalms: Psalm 128:1-5; Second Reading: 1Thessalonians 5:1-6
“For is will be as when a man going on a journey called his servants and entrusted to them his property; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them; and he made five talents more. So also, he who had the two talent made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 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.’ 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.’ 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.’ 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.’ 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; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 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? 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. So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has the ten talents. 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. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.’ (Matthew 25:14-30 RSV).
In the parable of the talents (silver pieces), Jesus warns us that we must of our own will use the gifts of God wisely, if we are to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. In this parable, as in so many others, He insists that is God’s property we are using, and it remains God’s property. He has given a variety of talents and the good things of life to His creatures, things of greater and lesser values, to greater and lesser degrees. This the parable expresses in terms of money, over which each servant is merely the administrator. The Master strictly charges them to use his goods wisely and bear abundant fruit.
When their time is up and the Master returns, he demands an account from each. Those who have allowed God’s work to be done through them are rewarded. They shall be judges and leaders in God’s Kingdom. “Well done!” he says, “Since you were reliable in a small matter, I will put you in charge of greater affairs. Come, share your Master’s joy.”
It is a strong reminder that we cannot take God’s gifts and use them only for our pleasure. The good things of life are not merely our own, to do with as we please. They must be used well in the service of God and our neighbor. This is another parable in which Jesus warns us about the abuse of riches. Unless we develop a deep charity, a spirit of sharing, a generosity with what God has given us, we shall meet the fate of the foolish man who put his silver pieces or talents in the ground, and did not use them for the glory of God.
Only those who make a lot of room for God and their neighbor, using the good things God has given, only these will be worthy of any reward.
Short Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for all the gifts You have given me. Help me to be aware of these gifts, that I may surrender them to You and use them cheerfully and generously to build up Your Kingdom. Amen.
Jakarta, 14 November 2014
A Christian Pilgrim