Just like the reading from Proverbs, the Gospel (the Parable of the Talents) also has more than one meaning. In addition to the more literal meaning for investing and entrepreneurship (see yesterday’s post), the $500,000 unit of currency known as the “talent” (back in the day) also represents a God-given skill or and ability, what we think of as a talent.
We get the basic idea - each of the servants is given talents, and there are consequences for what they did (or didn’t do) with those talents. Jesus starts off by giving just enough facts to set up the story, going into detail only at the end. And since the story ends on the what-not-to-do part, it can be easy to miss the what-to-do part.
The what-to-do part shows us God’s idea of success. The talents are given “to each according to his ability,” the servants have been entrusted with what they can handle. And each of them is judged according to their ability.
God doesn’t say to the second servant “you did okay, too bad you couldn’t handle five.” The servant who was given two talents and put them to work is received just as warmly as the servant who was given five.
More on this tomorrow.