And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each he gave according to his own ability… Matthew 25:15

And likewise he who had received two, gained two more also. Matthew 25:15

But he who received one went and dug in the ground and hid his lord’s moneyMatthew 25:18

What have I got to loose?  If you’ve ever watched the TV poker competitions, there are always gasps when someone declares that they are “Going all in!”  Is it fool hearty?  Is it uncommingly brave?

Jesus tells the parable where the Kingdom of Heaven is seemingly compared to the risk of loss.  Especially because, in the story, again seemingly what is at risk is not the person’s to lose but their master’s.  So two of servants take all that has been given to them and risk it all on the chance that their might be some gain.  One decides to hide what has been given to him where there is no risk of loss.  One wonders who had the more nervous time while the master was away; the ones with the talents at risk or the one whose talent was safe?

Yet at the heart of it there is something deeper going on.  First, I truly wonder if the use of the denomination of money is a coincidence; talents.  It could have been denarii or something else.  But talents is what Jesus decided to use.  Also note that the story starts with the master giving the talents to each of the servants.  In addition, the master does not give to each equally.  The master is very purposeful to not give to one more than he can handle.  He only gives them what their ability will allow them to deal with.

I think it is also important that the master did not give explicit instructions with what was expected to be done with those talents.  The master left it up to the individuals to do with the talents as they saw fit.  So the stage is set for the servants to decide how to act.  Two of the servants take their talents how and they use them.  We not sure exactly how they used them to get their gain, but they took the risk to use the talents given to them by their master and through that utilization they bring back gain to the master.  One, hedges his bet.  He has little to start with and perhaps therefore even more of a chance of losing everything.  He does not have the ability of the others but he does have ability or the master would not have given him anything.  The one with one talent does not use his talent in any way.  What is wasted is the talent.  The talent does no good for the servant, the master or anyone else and that is where the master’s disappointment comes from.  He gave the talent to be used in some way and the servant decided to disregard the master’s gift and live as if it had not been given to him.  As such he misses out on the reward of not only using the talent, but also the joy of his master’s response.

It sure seems that God has given and that word is very purposeful.  The talents that we have are a gift.  They are not the result of our efforts as they are a result of God’s Grace.  And God knows us, he knows what are abilities and limitations are.  So He gives to us only what we are capable of doing.  God wants us to use those talents to help.  Know that the helping is not just others but also ourselves.  We think that there is a risk in stepping out and trying something new or different.  In reality the risk is exactly the opposite.  It is by not attempting to use the talents that suffer harm and miss out on the blessings that God has intended for us.

So we hedge our bets, we hide our God given talents and we and those around us suffer.  God truly desires to guide our fulfillment of talents and shower us with praise for those faithful acts.  May we decide that we are going all in with Him.

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