In today’s Gospel from St. Luke, Jesus tells his disciples a parable designed to teach them an important element of discipleship. He tells of a nobleman who, before leaving on a trip, calls several of his servants to him. He gives them each ten gold coins, instructing them to engage in trade with them until he returns. Upon his return, the first two servants report all they made with the coins which had been entrusted to them. The next servant comes and tells the master he took the coins which had been given to him and kept them wrapped carefully, so as to be sure to be able to return them to the nobleman upon his return, behavior that earns the wrath of his master.
The message of the parable is clear and simple. We are all given gifts to enable us to labor with God to bring about Kingdom. Those gifts are different; each of us has been given a unique set of gifts and talents. But we were given those gifts to use them to the greater glory of God. We aren’t given them to bury them so that we can give them back in their pristine state to God. We are given our gifts to use them for the life of the world.
We are not always good about recognizing our talents. Sometimes we can’t see them at all. Sometimes we know the things we are good at but we don’t think they are important. They come easy to us, so we don’t see them as real strengths. (We often have a sense that: if I’m good at it, it can’t be very worthwhile.)
Yet is it so important that we be able to see our own giftedness. When we remember that all we are and all we have is a gift from our loving God, it is easy to understand that not recognizing our own giftedness is an act of real ingratitude. Ask yourself: what is it like for God, who so delights in us and our happiness, to have gifted us with whatever happens to be our individual talents – our unique giftedness, and to see us not appreciate and embrace that gift? God is not likely react with the wrath of the nobleman, but I’m guessing our failure to use the gifts he lovingly give us saddens and disappoints God.