A couple of things hit me when I re-read the parable of the talents. It was part of a devotion from Grace Moments, a ministry that has met with significant success out of downtown Milwaukee. The key point I have focused on is the reflective nature of talents, made out of fine metal, I believe silver. The single talent was worth quite a bit of money in ancient times. As Jesus pointed out in the parable included below, the talent was a gift from God to his people. Jesus used these earthly elements to point toward the heavenly principle, or reality.

Matthew 25:14-30 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

“The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

“Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are 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.’

“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

” ‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

The talent was shiny, but it didn’t shine on its own. Talents reflect the sun, or light source of something else. Therefore, the gift that Jesus refers to, was not something that in itself could shine. Something else had to give it light to reflect.

So, I think about the servants who were given talents. The Christian has, at various times in his or her life, acted much like each of these servants. The worst servant “buried” his talent. Underground, it could not reflect the light and others couldn’t see it’s worth. Underground, it corroded, or even could have been stolen. Buried, the servant was able to keep it hidden, but focus primarily on those other things that glitter in life.

It struck a cord with me that when I focus on the things of others, their blessings and abilities, I can’t find where I buried my own talent(s). When I open the Bible and spend time listening to God, his talents shine. The reaction is something that comes about and changes my focus back on to heavenly things. There is peace and joy when I focus on the reflection of my Savior and thankfulness for his talent given to me.

It keeps you humble, too. Knowing that the talents, as a gift and blessing from God, aren’t my own. They were given to me to use for my Savior. My Savior, whose light illuminates the talents he’s given me, is the one who makes us shine because he has died and risen from the dead to give worth to the talents that we have. Nothing about eternal life comes from within, it’s all from God; and we have the opportunity to reflect these things by killing our sinful nature each day, scrubbing the tarnish off our talents, and spending them in a way that will bring more glory to God.

Focusing on our sinfulness and inability to be perfect lands us in a sultry spot, but it’s necessary, even if it is a component part of Christianity. The better part, the part of the life of a Christian that gives hope, faith and life is found in the God-man, Jesus, who is compassionate on people who come to him for their every need. For each talent. Every day.

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