His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant!’
We have spent several weeks focusing on Jesus’ teaching on the last things, the end times. These teachings all point to what we are called to… to live, to be, to use, and to grow.
We can see the pattern that developed over these weeks. The central message is about the ‘obligation to’ that comes from our baptism, our acceptance in faith of Jesus as Lord.
October 25th – we are called to live the great commandment – committed love of God and for each other.
November 1st – we are reminded of our call to be the saints of God in the world.
November 8th – we are told to use the oil, constantly provided by God, to build His kingdom and to be ready to enter eternity carrying the light we have provided to the world.
Today, Jesus reminds us of the treasure we have been given. Having faith is the receipt of treasure and the obligation to take that treasure and to grow it.
The talent given, in Jesus’ day, was worth about fifteen years of wages. It was a lot. Even the person who received only one talent received a massive treasure.
Being given treasure like that is a great thing. It is like finding big sacks of money. Rejoicing, we would perhaps throw the treasure in the air, roll around in it, but then – What’s next? The treasure of faith is a call to rejoice in what we have been given and an obligation to work investing it for growth.
The gospel shows us three people who received treasure. Two spend a second saying: ‘Wow, I have treasure!’ and then got to work with it. The other person gets treasure but doesn’t even rejoice in it. The treasure is an instant turn-off to them. Factually, this person doesn’t throw it in the air, or roll around in it, or rejoice at all. They don’t want to see it, so they bury it; get it out of sight.
The massive amount we are given calls us to live God’s treasure – attracting others to it, to be God’s treasure in the world, to use His treasure to call others by the light burning in us, and finally to grow His treasure by our work so we may return to Him with results.
The wicked and lazy find no joy in the gift, so they bury it. It is not because they are risk averse – like someone who prefers certificates of deposit in a bank to playing the stock market or starting a business – it is because they reject the gift completely. For us, how we rejoice in the gift, and whether we do all we are called to, quietly and slowly, or quick and dynamic, let us live the gospel, be Jesus to the world, and use His gifts to grow His kingdom returning to Him, on the last day, with what we have done.