“Well done, good and faithful servant. Come share your master’s joy” (Matt 25:20).
The Parable of the Talents continues the theme of accountability prominent in the Lectionary as the liturgy approaches the end of the church year. Three servants are given sums of money to invest. Two of them multiply their master’s money and trust. One buries his portion rather than risk losing it. He earns only a reprimand. We receive a life lesson: Use it or lose it.
Jesus uses money to talk about deeper questions. We all receive some measure of time and talent. God expects us to develop and multiply our potential in actual ways. Grace transforms relationships. The greater and more diverse our network of friendships and human connections, the richer we become. Jesus builds simply on the laws of life known to everyone: You reap what you sow; what goes around comes around; do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Life is complicated, wisdom often comes from taking risks and even making mistakes. We must live without fear or exaggerated caution. The lesson of the parable is to live life as fully as you can and entrust the results to God. Only God, who sees our hearts, can judge us, so we are in good hands.
The greatest offense of the servant who failed to invest his talents was his refusal to imitate his master. Jesus challenged his disciples to be like their heavenly Father, who shows mercy to everyone and lavishes love on the worthy and unworthy alike. In the end, this is what a full life looks like. And when life is not long enough to hold all the love we have amassed in our relationships, it will overflow into eternity, where all investments reveal their true value. This is the Gospel of joy.