The Parable of the Talents

The Parable of the Talents

Matthew 25:14-30

The gospel message. This week is to take the love that God has given to you in abundance. And to turn that love out into the world. It’s up to you to figure out how best to do that.

[Automatically transcribed]

In the name of the father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Please sit.

Well, what an interesting gospel. There are two ways of approaching this gospel. Well, the first is to approach it, that the landowner, the man who has given the talents is God and they are the talents that have been given to us. And the other way is to view the landowner as some sort of wicked man who has not followed the preset set out by God, who is in some way corrupt.

And the actually the last person who buried the talents was the person who had done the right thing, a whistleblower, if you like, somebody who had been strong enough to stand up to the wicked person and say, this is not right.

For me, I think the strongest reading is about gifts, it’s about it’s about God being the landowner, as we often see across the gospel, God being represented as the landowner who has given each of his servants a gift and a large gift.

A Talent is an enormous amount of money. It’s not some some small trifling thing. It’s it’s not like me giving you five pounds or ten pounds at a mass on a Sunday and saying, now take this and go and multiply it. Although, of course I know some churches do that. A Talent is a lot of money. It was a huge gift and that mirrors the gift that God gives us.

The gifts that God give us are enormous. But we’re not always open to understanding either the enormity of that gift or what that gift actually may be. Now we dress it up with lots of we dress it up with lots of words around trying to figure that out over an entire life, we call it discernment and we call we call figuring out we call discovering what it is that God has given us to do in the world, our vocation. We most often talk about discernment and vocation when we talk about a calling to the priesthood or the diaconate, we sometimes talk about vocation and discernment when we talk about the religious life to be a monk or a nun.

We talk about it when we think of roles like teachers or doctors or nurses, where people give their lives, give the gifts that God has given them, whether or not that’s an ability to care for people, to comfort people, whether or not that’s an ability to connect in some way God’s teaching in the world, whether it’s an ability to pray for other people, we give our lives over to that. And of course, those jobs are often the most difficult in the world and the least respected by the rest of the world.

And so we talk about them in terms of vocation, because it’s quite hard to understand why you would do it otherwise, but that’s the wrong way round you see. That’s that’s coming at it from the wrong way round. Oh, well, so and so does this job, because it’s their vocation. It’s what God has given them to do in the world.

Ah, well, that explains why they are doing a job that doesn’t pay very much money and doesn’t give them very much respect in the secular world. That explains it, but that’s coming at it from the wrong way. The way that we should approach vacation and each and every single one of us has to do this, is that that discernment towards our vocation is a journey of discovering what it is that God has given us to do in this world. And the thing is, of course, it might not be something that we want to do.

It might not be something that on the face of it, we’d like to spend the rest of our lives doing. But I guarantee this, once you open your heart to it and you face it and you journey on that path, then you will find a deep contentment. And a deep love in knowing that you are doing what God has given you to do.

Now, you can be like the first servant, you can receive that gift, and when you receive God’s gift of of of doing what it is that God has given you to do, then you will go out into the world and you will multiply that gift.

If you are a teacher and you are a good teacher, then you will create more teachers. If you’re a wonderful nurse, you will create more nurses, you will multiply the gifts that God has given you into the world. I became a nurse in no small part because I watched the nurses care for my grandfather as he was dying. And their care and love in the world shone out so strongly of God’s grace that when I was trying to figure out at the age of 19 what it was that God wanted me to do in the world, it was easy for me to see that it was nursing.

And I know that we have many nurses in our congregation. But what then do we do when that vacation, that gift is harder to discern? What do we do when it isn’t straightforwardly laid out in front of us? Now, that’s the thing that the church is not always terribly good at helping with If you know that you want to be a priest or a teacher or nurse, if you want to be a deacon, then the church has processes in place to help you discover those paths.

But if your gift is to be the joy of God on your street. To be there when someone is in pain. Then we’re not so good at that. We have to get better at that as a church. But that’s for me to worry about, not you, what you need to worry about is discerning what it is that God has for you to do. And the thing is here in Saint Anselm, we see it all of the time.

It could be that your gift is to support your partner. In love and encouragement, it could be that your gift today is to send a message to somebody that, you know, is struggling. It could be that you’ve spent 20, 30 years trying to figure out what it is that God wants you to do without realising that you’ve been doing it for 20 or 30 years. Because you have quietly got on with doing the small things. OK, you haven’t been the servant who’s got five talents back, but you’ve been the servant who’s taken the gift that God gave you and you’ve looked after the small things.

I’ve written about it this week on the pew sheet and the small things – through the small things, we change the world. Through those tiny, tiny things, the world is made a better place. Through smiling at somebody in the street, through asking somebody’s name, remembering their name when you’ve only met them once or twice.

When someone comes to the food bank, can you help them carry their bags? When you hold the door open for somebody so that they don’t miss their train, when you lift your feet off the floor at night and go to bed and say the our father? When you put your feet on the floor in the morning and pray for those that you love and those that you care for. There is you multiplying the gifts that God has given you, because the one thing that God has given us all is the ability to pray. The ability to reach out to God.

And ask for his help and his support and his love and encouragement and that that’s the greatest vocation of all, that is the greatest multiplication of a talent of all. Taking the love that God has given you and turning it out into the world. And you know what, it’s no more complex than that.

The gospel message. This week is to take the love that God has given to you in abundance. And to turn that love out into the world. It’s up to you to figure out how best to do that.

But I don’t doubt for one moment. That you will figure that out. And the people that you love and care for will see that love shining through.