My Bible study group was discussing the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30). Our study leaders asked with whom we identified in the story: the servant with 10 talents, the one with five talents or the last with one talent.
I have to say, for me it was the last servant to whom the master said, "You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter?" (Matthew 25:26).
After 50 some years, I have yet to find that talent. There are several things I can do, some I may be good at doing, others are haphazard attempts. Yes, the Lord has blessed me with many gifts: health, my grandfather's homestead, wife, children and grandchildren. Unlike some, I have a roof over my head I can call my own, I have enough food to sustain me, and I have friends and family. Yet a true calling or direction seems to be missing. I am like a "lukewarm" Christian just floating through life.
Why would someone not use his or her talent? The biggest obstacle is fear. Fear of success, reproach, failure and/or loss. The Lord "will not fail or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed" (Deuteronomy 31:8). Oh, but we can't offend or go against the people we love and respect. If we used our talent, we may have to change, become committed to something, we may have to give it 110 percent. "The Lord is my light and salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid" (Psalm 27:1)?
Then there are the excuses: I don't have time, money or knowledge for such an undertaking. For my good friend, "Ben Putten Itoff", it's procrastination. We really don't want to take a risk or make a choice. We don't want to get out of our comfort zone. We don't want to be vulnerable, open ourselves up for comments, inspection or criticism. Even praise and/or acceptance sometimes makes people shy away or feel out of place.
So why not bury that talent, muddle through life, go with the flow and just get along? Life could get dull and boring. What would happen to entertainment, adventure? What would happen to helping others or filling a need? What about creativity?
God has given us many gifts and abilities, so as not to be just followers or become part of the status quo. There are many gifts of the Spirit, all working together to the glory of God. And not for a mediocre life but for an abundant one. Just take that step of faith and who knows where it may lead. I just wish I could take my own advice. It is easy to say, hard to follow or practice.
© 2015 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers