Today is Saturday, September 1st. In today’s Gospel passage from Matthew, Jesus tells the parable of the three servants and the talents. The master leaves on a journey and calls in three servants: to one the master gives five talents, to another he gives three, and to the last servant he gives one talent. Upon the master’s return, he calls in the three servants again. The servant given five talents, has made five more and the servant with three talents has made three more. The master is pleased with these servants. The last servant, given the one talent, buries it and returns only the one talent already given by the master. The master views this servant as wicked and lazy.
I can not help but ponder what made the servants respond to the receipt of these talents in such different ways. The first two servants seem to respond to these talents with joy. They view the talents as a gift. It is not the number of talents received, it is the very fact that they have received any talents at all that motivates these servants. The third servant seems to view the talent, not as a gift, but as a burden. The talent is something to dispose of, to hide.
The first two servants see this as an opportunity and they are moved to act. The parable does not explain how the first two servants increased the number of talents. However, one can speculate that required a time commitment, required them to put themselves out there or involved some risks. Who knows maybe the number of talents decreased initially; maybe they met some resistance. It may have required patience and perseverance to increase the number of talents. Before moving on to the third servant, perhaps this is an appropriate time to ask ourselves a few questions – How do I see the talents I have received from God; do I see them as a gift or a burden? What am I willing to do with the talents I have been given; am I willing to invest time to increase them, take some risks and put myself out there and be patient and persistent?
Now, the third servant is motivated by fear. The question is - is it a healthy fear or an unhealthy fear? Is it a fear that paralyzes or spurs one to action? Do you fear God? Do you see that fear as a healthy fear or an unhealthy fear? How do you think God wants you to see Him?