The Second Sunday before Advent
For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; 15 to one he gave five talents,[a] to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. 17 In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. 18 But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. 20 Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return, I would have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to the one with the ten talents. 29 For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 30 As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
you long for the world’s salvation:
stir us from apathy,
restrain us from excess
and revive in us new hope
that all creation will one day be healed
in Jesus Christ our Lord
In the context of this parable, ‘Talents’ are not about what we may or may not be good at. One talent is a large sum of money. My grandmother who was full of Victorian values would have approved. Put it in the bank! Get your interest! In Jesus time however there were no safe banks. To bury it in the ground was actually an approved way of keeping the money safe. Those who invested it might have lost all.
The secret is in the amount of money involved A Talent was perhaps what a worker might earn over 18 years. It is a highly significant amount. Who might have such an amount to leave with his servants? The answer is God, but more significantly it is not about money, it is about love. That is what God gives us, and the issue is what do we do with it, how do we use it? Do we invest it in others? Do we give it to those around us? Do we use it in the world? Have we love for one another? Or do we sit on it and leave it in the ground?
The distinguishing thing about Christians and Christianity in the words of Jesus. Love one another as I have loved you, by this shall all people know that you are my disciples.