Being faithful in small things
In His Parable of the Talents, Jesus teaches that we must use our gifts wisely. During Jesus’ time, a talent was an amount; thirty kilogrammes of precious metal, but in the Parable of the Talent in our Gospel today, when Jesus speaks of talents He is referring to God-given abilities to each of us. Since Jesus’ time people have come to understand the word “talent” in this sense.
Before going on a journey, a wealthy man entrusts his fortune to his servants for the time he would be away. Two of the servants use the money wisely to earn income for their master. However, the third servant does not put the money to good use to the master’s displeasure. The man who receives one talent buries it. Jesus calls him “wicked” and “lazy.”
The story becomes more interesting if we look at the reward or compliments given. Even though the first servant with five talents made five more and the second servant with two talents made two more, they both receive exactly the same compliments: “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have shown you can be faithful in small things. I will trust you with greater things. Come and join in your master’s happiness.” (Verses 21, 23)
The gifts we have received are not ours alone. God has given them to us to serve Him and others. Each of us has something to give. We can give our money and time to charity, be a friend to someone who is sick or lonely, do volunteer work, or be a peacemaker, teacher or minister. We may unselfishly give our time to our spouse, children or parents. We may choose a service-oriented occupation, or we may just do our everyday jobs with integrity and respect for others.
The master represents God in this parable and the servants represent us. The English word talent, which means our natural abilities, is derived from this parable. The parable’s lesson is that we must use our talents, abilities and wealth to serve God. If we do not use our gifts wisely, God will consider us to be wicked and lazy like the third man in the parable. He compared himself to others and was afraid to fail. So he did nothing. That was the problem. He instead buried his talent.
Whatever God has given you, thank Him and ask for His help to invest it as best you can. Mother Theresa said, “Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.” She did not talk about doing great things, but doing little things with great love. Today Jesus is asking you to do small things with great love.
Fr. Jude Thaddeus Langeh Basebang , cmf
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