Today’s Gospel is the Parable of the Talents.
In New Testament times, a talent was a large unit of measurement for gold or silver. In today’s dollars, a talent of silver would be about $500,000. Meaning that the servants in the parable were each trusted with half a million dollars.
Each one got the money to start a business. And time to get that business up and running before reporting back. Knowing how much a talent is worth makes Jesus’ point even clearer. The one who did nothing with his talent wasted half a million dollars.
That is exactly how God wants us to think about our talents. About our God-given skills and abilities. As assets which are that valuable. And everything we need for success.
We get the basic idea - the servants are given talents, and there are consequences for what they did (or didn’t) do with those talents. Because the story ends on the servant who wasted his talent, the what-not-to-do part, it can be easy to miss the what-to-do part.
The part that shows us God’s idea of success.
The servants have each been entrusted with a talent. Along with that talent, God has given them the grace to handle it. And each of them is judged – judged according to their ability to use what they’ve been given.
God doesn’t say to the servant who used one talent to make five, “You did okay, I guess. Too bad you couldn’t make ten.”
The servant who was given one talent and made five? Is received just as warmly as the servant who was given one talent and made ten.
Which tells us that God’s idea of success – success in the eyes of the only One whose opinion matters in the end – has nothing to do with comparisons. With keeping up with whoever.
God’s idea of success?
It’s all about what we do with what God has given us.
About being wise enough to follow His lead. And keeping our eyes on Him.
Instead of wasting one moment worried about how someone else is doing.