The Parable of the Talents and the Need to Recognize our Giftedness

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the parable of the three servants each entrusted with talents “according to his ability.” Two use the talents in a way that yields more. The third buries the talents and simply returns the same talents to the master when he returns. That servant is scolded on the master’s return for not using the talents even in the most minimal of ways.

We are all given certain gifts from our loving God. Not recognizing our own giftedness is an act of real ingratitude. How many of us, when we receive a beautifully wrapped gift, thoughtfully prepared for us by someone filled with love for us, tosses it in the closet without looking at it, ignoring it and forgetting about it?

Yet, that is exactly what we do if we do not recognize and celebrate our own giftedness. We take the beautiful gift our God has given for us, a gift chosen with such care, a gift uniquely suited to us, and toss it aside without a second glance. We throw it in the closet and forget about the gift and the giver. Ask yourself: What is that like for God?

This parable invites us to recognize our gifts, to own them, and to use them for the greater glory of God.

As I was reflecting on this, what came to mind was a story in the writings of Teresa of Avila. She told of a certain nun – a very talented woman – who resolved to become more humble. She decided that whenever a clever thought occurred to her during the Carmelites’ recreation period, she would remain silent. Teresa immediately disabused the nun of that resolution. Her comment: “it is bad enough to be stupid by nature, without trying to be stupid by grace.” Teresa, too, saw the danger of false humility – of not embracing and using the talents our God has given us.