Beloved Members of St. Martin’s,
All great stories, all great adventures, are centered around a question, as Matt Linton notes. In To Kill A Mockingbird, one of the central ones is “Who is Boo Radley?” The Bible’s main questions are “Who Is God?” “How do I live a good life?”
Now sometimes, the clues to both of those questions can seem pretty obscure. Such is the case with our gospel passage this coming weekend. Matthew 25:14-30 contains the Parable of the Talents.
Those of us who speak English get to enjoy a bit of wordplay here, since in English, a “talent” is not a coin but an aptitude. And so it is easy to take the question at the heart of this parable out of context and still treat it seriously, namely:
What does God calls us to do with the talents we have been given? The way I was raised the answer was immediate: one was expected to use those talents for the glory of God. And that’s why my mother had me standing in front of her 50 fellow-members of her adult Sunday School class with my Sears guitar in my hand, singing “Put Your Hand in the Hand of the man from Galilee” with my siblings despite my prayer that, what with my homemade clothes and homemade haircut and wish to disappear completely. But we kids were told we had to use our musical talents for the glory of God.
The question at the heart of this weekend’s parable is this:
This parable implies that it is not as simple as evangelism-- knocking on doors and pressing pamphlets into often unwelcoming hands. The answer lies in taking the gifts we have been given, and using them not to assuage our own fears, but to support the mission of God in reconciling all the world to Godself. And the first gift is the gift and challenge of living by love.