... ... ... After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them ... ... ... Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, ... ... ... And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, ' see, I have made two more talents.' ... ... ... Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, 'I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.' " (Matthew 25:14-30).
I am sure you know the story well. A rich man gives three sums of money to his slaves, and when he returns from his travels he discovers that two have increased the sum given to them, whereas the other has just buried his coin (talent) and returned it intact with no interest.
So what is Jesus saying here? It is OK to make money, as much as you possibly can according to your capabilities? Don't just sit on what you have and not make your money work?
God is not against people being rich. There is nothing wrong with being rich as long as we achieve it honestly and without cheating or stealing.
In another parable, (the rich man and poor Lazarus at his gate - Luke 16:19–31), Jesus does not condemn being rich, as many people have misunderstood. Jesus condemns the rich man for not even noticing the poor man at his doorstep.
So what is Jesus teaching in the parable of the slaves and the talents given them?
Could He perhaps be talking about something more than just material riches?
Is He maybe reminding us that there will always be someone worse off than us? Someone who is poor in material things, someone poor in spirit, poor in health, poor in education or even poor in Faith. This may be miss-interpreting Him perhaps but still worth considering.
We all have a responsibility towards those in poverty in one way or another. No matter how their poverty manifests itself.
We should always readily recognize our blessings and share them with those less well off than us.
If we are fortunate to be financially rich, we should give to those who have not.
If we are in good health, we should help those who are sick. Visit them at home or in hospital, and give a hand when needed.
If we are clever or intelligent we should be more tolerant towards those not as bright as us and help educate them where we can.
And if our Faith is strong, we should help and pray for those who falter and fail in their walk with the Lord.
We’ve all been given some talent or other and we should use them for the benefit of others.
Perhaps one way of doing so is by proclaiming our Faith in God. Be God's ambassadors and representatives on earth. We may not all be good at standing at street corners, or knocking at doors, or writing books or blogs. But by just living the Christian life we are using our God given talents for His glory.
Another way of using our talents is to be active in our church or community. The church always needs volunteers for many jobs. Playing music or singing in the choir perhaps. Doing some sort of administration or secretarial work. Editing and printing the newsletter. Cleaning the church. Ordering supplies. Visiting the sick and the elderly, or helping run a soup kitchen for the down and out. And so on.
We have a responsibility to use our talents to the best of our abilities. And
with this responsibility comes a greater and more onerous one. That is
to answer to Him when He asks us, “And what have you done with the
riches I gave you?”