I’ve had a lot of trouble understanding the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25 before. The parable is about investing – servants of a master who are given different amounts of money and expected to use it to good purpose while he’s gone. Two of them invest it and earn back double what they were given. One just hides it so that nobody steals the amount he’s given. It’s pretty obvious on one front: use what you’re given.
But I get caught up in trying to understand it so much that I never get around to investing. Hear me out. Maybe it’s because their word for the currency, “talent” sounds the same as “talent” in English, meaning special skill or ability. My usual train of thought after reading passage is “Talent… what talent do I have? And how do I use it? I don’t have a lot to write about right now, so scratch that. I don’t have a piano anymore, so scratch that… I don’t know.” And by then it’s dinner time or the dishes need doing or a certain wee boy is calling his mama and the train of thought derails until months or a year later, when I circle back around to that passage.
I always though a talent (currency) was a lot of money. Bible currencies are confusing and I’ve never taken the time to sort them out, but I just assumed it was a lot. But then in verse 21, the master says to the servant who returned 10 talents “You have been faithful with little. I will set you over much.”
That. That’s what clicked today. I can be faithful with little. Maybe I don’t need to be getting up in front of people playing piano on worship teams to be in ministry. Maybe it’s not about writing truckloads of spiritual memoirs (or even writing one.) Maybe it’s less about talents and more about responsibilities. I have a tiny boy to take care of, and maybe just letting him yowl into my shoulder and get snot everywhere while teaching him how loved he is by God and by me is all I need to do. Maybe “talent” is about wiping his nose over and over, and reminding him how much I care. Doing the laundry full of baby boy boogers again and again because, well, it keeps piling up. Maybe my investment is the few times I remember to get the coffee ready for my early-rising husband. Maybe it’s remembering to give thanks for something, even if I’m trying and failing to find the source of infant yowls.
It’s probably going to be a lot harder than using skill-oriented talents, but if I can only be faithful in this, in living Christ’s love to my tiny family again and again; I will probably be so much closer to hearing his “well done” than I ever knew before.