Reading Romans 12:6-8; Matthew 25:14-30 (NRSV)
In Romans, we read about character traits that God grants us, targeted to each person’s need. What a gift! We each receive the exact traits that will most help us in our spiritual lives!
In Matthew, Jesus tells a story about a man who gives his three slaves different amounts of “talents” according to their ability. Two of them invest or trade the talents and deliver back to the man double what he gave them. The third buries his talent because he is afraid of losing it, so he has only one talent to deliver back to the man. The story ends with the fearful slave being sent “into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Compassionate people may argue: how can a loving master condemn this timid and anxious slave to such a fate? Romans designates the gift of cheerfulness to the compassionate, perhaps to balance the pain they feel for others. Employing that gift, note that joy comes to the other two slaves. Maybe they started with joy; they surely enjoyed using their talents.
The timid slave is already fearful; he himself places his talent in utter darkness; he was surely weeping and gnashing his teeth waiting for his master’s return.
Do we also condemn ourselves by receiving God’s gifts in fear?
Let us pray. O, gift-giving God, help us to receive our talents in joy, and utilize them to further your kingdom. Amen.