A rich man is going on a journey, so he summons his three servants and entrusts each of them with a substantial amount of money. To the first he gives 5 talents, to the second 2 and to the third 1. On his return he calls his servants to him. The first two servants had put the talents they were given to work and had increased their number and with them he was pleased. The third servant had simply buried his talent in the ground and with him the master was angry and called him an ‘unfaithful servant’.
I used to think that this parable was unfair to the third servant, he had, after all, kept the talent safe but then I came to understand that doing nothing is just a step away from doing evil.
‘He said to them, Go into the world and preach the gospel to all creation.’ Mark 16:15
We preach the gospel by the way we live our Christian lives and by the way we use our special talents. Our talents are not given to us so that we can glory in personal success, wealth or adulation. Again and again the Bible reminds us that we must love our neighbor, help our neighbor, not in a passive way but through action.
‘Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.’ Proverbs 13:8-9
Each of us has special gifts. We must use them in the service of others, not in the spirit of self-denial, but in the spirit of joy.