We all have been given some wonderful gifts in Christ. These are signs of God’s graciousness toward us, and as disciples we are called to share these gifts with neighbours and strangers.
In Matthew 25:14-30 we have another of Jesus’ parables. The parable can be interpreted as encouraging the disciples to prepare for Christ’s return by letting God’s life-giving grace and compassion flow through them as a power for good.
Jesus uses money to illustrate God’s power released in the world. In this parable Jesus speaks of talents. Whilst talents are familiar to us in our modern day, referring to our abilities or gifts, in Jesus’ time a talent was a form of money – worth around 6,000 denarii (with one denarius perhaps equivalent to a day’s wage). The first servant was given 30,000 denarii- an extravagant amount. While people of ancient times may not have had complex financial markets, they still knew about investment for profit. Money was powerful then, too. This incredible sum of money illustrates the actions of an extravagant God, and how our talents, our gifts and abilities are used for God’s glory.
The parable begins with a wealthy master deciding to go on a trip. He calls his servants together and entrusts them with various amounts of money according to their ability. The master’s absence is a test for the servants. During his absence they are to make the most of what they have been given. When the master returns there will be a day of judgement where the servants must account for what they have done.
The master must have had a great deal of trust in the servants to give such large amounts of money. The parable challenges us not to sit back with the life of God in us. As the third servant found, it was not good enough just to bury the money and allow it not even to gain interest. We cannot be complacent, nor allow narrow values or status to stop us from keeping up with God’s generosity.