Thirty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jesus told his disciples this parable: "A man going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one--to each according to his ability. Then he went away… After a long time the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them. The one who had received five talents came forward bringing the additional five. He said, 'Master, you gave me five talents. See, I have made five more.' His master said to him, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’… Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter, so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. Here it is back.’ His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant!’” Matthew 25:14-15, 19-21, 24-26
I read this Scripture passage and I picture a parent hugging their child as they bring home a report card full of As, my junior high piano teacher smiling at the end of my 45-minute concerto, our cheers when our dog learned how to go through the doggy door to pee outside and NOT on the sofa. God seems so pleased and proud of this servant. “Well done.” “Good and faithful.” “Come, share my joy.” It makes you yearn to hear these phrases from your Heavenly Father. The good news is that God spells it out pretty well for us on how we can reach that. The bad news is that it’s not always going to be easy.
How in the world do we multiply our talents? What ARE our talents? Well, everything.
When you sing in the choir, your voice is being multiplied along with all the other voices to offer a magnificent gift to God. And then other people hear it and are touched by it. The tears form in their eyes and they decide to join you in praise. It’s multiplying. They leave Mass feeling like they got a shot in the arm of faith, a boost of energy to serve God and then they go and radically love people throughout their week. Multiplying.
We do this every week and yet we have more ‘talents’ than just our musical ‘talent’.
Your house. How can it be used to multiply?
Your time. How can it be used to multiply?
Your car. How can it be used to multiply?
Your money. How can it be used to multiply?
Your time. How can it be used to multiply?
Your phone, your computer, your cooking skills, your boat, your personality, your kids, your hands, your feet. How can they be used to multiply?
Whatever ‘talents’ you have, it’s time to multiply them.
Just like the servant with only one talent, our fear causes us to hoard our talents daily. I feel the fear first hand as I try to let God multiply the talent of my home. I have an extra room that I would love to use to store material possessions, but I know it is God’s room to be used for multiplying. I’m not ready to allow strangers with trauma into my home. The fear is crippling, just like that servant who buried his talents. I’ve noticed it daily as I’ve turned my garage (which was supposed to be a cute hangout/office space) into a refugee donation center. The piles climb to the ceiling and my anxiety rises. But it’s multiplying. I’ve watched it as I see people hand over a check to help the needy or hand over their offerings each week. We want so badly to bury it, but instead, we give it away. Multiplying. I see it as musicians continue to volunteer their time, their evenings and weekends to the church, for the glory of God. Multiplying. I know people who use their passion for exercise to invite lonely people to hike with them, running marathons for World Vision, etc. Multiplying. A friend of mine went through training with her dog so it could help calm people with special needs. Multiplying. Being an extrovert and using that talent to invite a lonely friend out for coffee. Multiplying.
There are a million examples we could use. But the question we have to ask ourselves is:
What talents do I have and am I burying my talents or am I multiplying them?
If we’re honest, we’re probably burying some and multiplying others.
“Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities.” When we give a little, God sees our faithfulness and hands over more. And the cycle continues. Knowing that He’ll entrust us with more can scare us out of giving in the first place. But while fear may feel crippling, I’d much rather hear the voice of God saying, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant,” rather than the harsh words He used for the servant who buried his talent. I have a hunch, though, that once we start giving over our talents, we won’t be thinking about what words are being said to us, we’ll be basking in God’s overwhelming joy as we watch Him use our talents for His glory and then we’ll be inspired to give more and more for His Kingdom.
So, with that, let’s figure out what we’ve been burying and see if we can dig it out and start giving it to God. He’ll take care of the multiplying.