While I was reading the parable of talents, I was hit between the eyes with this sentence:
“But the man who received one (talent) went off and dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money.”
A talent is a coin worth about 17 years worth of wages. In today’s modern income, this would be equivalent of about $750,000 today. This is a huge sum of money. The point of the story is to teach us that there is a great wealth which God has given to each of us and digging holes so we can bury God’s gifts will get us in serious trouble.
Jesus is letting you and I know we all have been given great gifts. The gift of life. The gift of grace. The gift of faith. The gift of family/friends. Etc. Yet, sometimes we may start to look at another’s gifts and compare them to our own. Maybe this happened to the man in the parable with 1 talent. What might he think of the man with 10 talents (about $7.5 million)?
- If I only had his money.
- I could really do something good with that.
- I deserve it as much as he does.
- Why not me?
We sometimes do the same thing. It is an entitlement attitude. We believe we deserve some gift or thing or have a right to something. This attitude comes from numerous sources, including: selfishness, bad parenting (e.g., being spoiled), narcissism, self-centerdness, etc. But, regardless of the source, we all sometimes start to think of ourselves too much. Thus, at it’s root, believing we are entitled to something we aren’t is an issue of pride.
The truth is we ARE entitled to something and it isn’t what any of us want. By our sins, we are entitled to judgment and condemnation. Yet, by the mercy of God’s grace alone are we even offered forgiveness, life, and heaven. NOT because we deserve these gifts, but because they are a free gift from God that we could never earn.
Still, even in this plan of God’s grace, we can forget how valuable we are to God. You and I are God’s prized possession which He buys back with the life of His Son. He gives us everything and asks for just a little in return. Some of what he asks of us is that we use the good gifts he has given us to glorify His name, to become holy, and to bring others to Him – all to the extent we are able.
All of us go through times when we want to make God comfortable in our lives. But, this isn’t how God wants to operate.
God isn’t a God of the status quo.
God is a God of vision, daring, and courage.
God is a God of growth and life.
God is a God of power and authority.
This is the kind of God who loves us and gives us good things. A father who knows how to give us all good gifts.
Which is why we dig holes when we do the following:
- Rely on our own power too much.
- Think we are above needing God.
- Think we are unlovable and below God.
- Find ourselves too comfortable with God.
It gets worse when we bury our treasure by:
- Giving up on God.
- Sitting out the battles God asks us to fight.
- Stopping our prayer life or letting it slip.
- Not choosing the right thing.
- Letting fear paralyze us.
- Becoming lazy or complacent in our spiritual lives.
- Having an attitude of entitlement.
Whatever holes you are currently digging and whatever the talents you have buried. It is time to dig up your treasure and throw your shovels down! God is calling us to be bold and take action now!
It is time to multiply our talents and return them to God. This is our free choice, which says “yes” to His grace. He empowers us to do what we can to make a good return to God with our lives and actions.
Who doesn’t want to hear the Master of the Universe tell us:
‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’ -Matt 25:21
Fr. Barron comments on this parable from a somewhat different viewpoint: