One of the most popular parables of Jesus is the Parable of Talents in the 25th chapter of the Book of Matthew.
Just before he left on a long journey, a man called his servants and gave them talents (ancient units of money). There were his servants and, so, any gain they made from the money would be his. He distributed the talents according to the ability of each servant. Two of the servants utilized what they had been given and gained extra talents. The third servant who had been given one talent went and hid that talent in the ground.
Upon the return of their master, they were called to account for the money entrusted to them. The first two servants were commended for being industrious with the money and increasing it. However, when it was the turn of the third servant to give account, he returned the exact one talent to his master, having never put it to work and thus having no profit, increase or fruit from it. This was his reason:
“Master, I knew that you were a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.”
Furious with the servant, the master called him a ‘wicked, lazy servant’ and commanded that he be thrown outside into the darkness, a place of punishment.
The reason why the third servant was unfruitful can be found in his statement: “I was afraid…”
Sound familiar to you?
Many of us do not take advantage of the rich reserves that God had deposited within us and the opportunities that He constantly sends our way for one simple reason: “I am afraid”.
You have been given talents by God. Even though the talent in the parable was money, it describes many things: natural abilities, skills, relationships, possessions and opportunities.
The servant in the parable was afraid of the possibility that he may put that talent to work and lose it in the process. Knowing that he had a tough master, he decided that he’d rather ‘play it safe’ and keep the master’s money. At least, then, he could be sure of returning that one talent. Rather than take the risk of being more fruitful with what he had, he decided to maintain the status quo.
I am certain that if he had tried, his master would have been quite impressed, even if he had brought back nothing. And leaving for his next trip, the master would have possibly given him two talents instead of one. However, since he distributed the talents according to the ability of each servant, he must have known the third servant’s propensity towards laziness and fearfulness and so he had given him only one talent.
May I point out here that the third servant lived in the same economy as the first two servants that yielded fruits with their own talents? If he had tried, at the very least, he could have approached his master boldly and told him “I tried”.
We live in a world that is just as unpredictable as the one in which that servant lived, and so there is a temptation to abide in fear instead of ‘rocking the boat’.
God loves you very much. And there are certain things He expects you to do, certain ‘talents’ He expects you to maximize. He has deposited so much in you and planned so much for you and He expects you to wake up to the fact that you have something to offer, one way or another.
And He has also given you a guarantee, no matter what happens when you try. He has told you that: in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
You will be fine. Everything will be all right. Could you, at least, try?