This past Sunday, churches everywhere heard Jesus’ parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), in which he taught his disciples to use and not waste the talents that God had given them to further God’s mission. Jesus was encouraging his followers to acknowledge that everything we have – our faith in God, our children, our talents – are not entirely of our own making, but are gifts from God that we must nurture, develop and increase for the sake of God’s mission in the world. All things come of thee, O Lord, and of thine own have we given thee.
In the parable, the master gives one, two or five talents to his servants, each according to his ability, and after a long journey returns and asks the servants for an accounting. Those who received five or two talents took risks and doubled the value and returned the increase to their master, who joyfully praised them both. But the servant who had received one talent was fearful of the master and buried his talent to keep it safe. Since his talent was not used, the servant was useless. The angry and disappointed master called that servant, wicked and lazy and took the one talent away from him. It seems that those who are not willing to risk anything for God’s sake are actually risking losing everything. God does not entrust much to those who do not put their trust in God.
On Sunday at St. Alban’s, we had a reverse offertory. The offertory plates were filled with silver dollars and passed throughout the church pews. Those willing to participate were invited to take two silver dollars and creatively utilize them as symbols of their talents, or consider them an incentive to discover or claim a talent not yet utilized. The master in the parable did not give his servants any instructions on how to use them, and so parishioners are to prayerfully consider how they will use them to further God’s mission. At the end of Advent, when Christ will have entered our hearts again, there will be another offertory when those who participated will offer the coins in return, hopefully with a significant increase, or submit an anonymous written account of how they used the $2 coins. Monies collected will be added to the funds being raised for the J2A youth group’s pilgrimage. The written accounts will be published in the parish newsletter, and may inspire others to use their talents in new ways. Those who were not in church this past Sunday and would like to participate in this demonstration of the gospel message will receive $2 coins this coming Sunday, Nov. 20.
Trust in God, be all you can be, do what God has called you to do, and make a positive difference in your family, your parish, your workplace, your community or in the world. It can begin with as little as $2.