“The kingdom of heaven is like a man who was leaving on a trip. He called his servants and handed his possessions over to them. To one he gave five valuable coins, and to another he gave two, and to another he gave one. He gave to each servant according to that servant’s ability. Then he left on his journey.” Matthew 25:14-15 (NRSV)
This parable inspired me to think about a great stock market in heaven where we are all trying to invest in a piece of God’s kingdom. The twist is that it is God who has given us the money or gifts or talents to invest. We invest for God. I wonder if that would help us think a little differently about the ways we use our time, talent, and treasure.
Thinking about the ways we are good stewards of what God has given us helps us to remember that it really is God who gives them to us. All that we have is from God, and, in turn, God asks us to give back the best of them to glorify God’s name. Putting God first and taking the responsibility for having return on our investments means that we are using our gifts and talents to the best of our ability.
I’m not sure I would compare the owner in this parable to God since he was also described by the servant with only one coin as hard and even dishonest. Maybe the point really isn’t about the owner as much as it is about the servants and how they took care of what they had been entrusted with. The first two doubled their investments so the owner gave them more responsibility. The servant who had one coin (or talent as some translations read) buried his treasure and didn’t use it. At least the owner received back the original investment, but he wasn’t happy with the way the servant had handled his money.
If this parable is about how we are asked to care for God’s world, then we should take notice about how we build that kingdom here on earth. We can’t build it by hiding or burying our gifts and talents – not using them. It is only by sharing of our time, talents, and treasures that we are able to work for Christ in this world.
John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, is credited with having said, “Make all you can, save all you can, and give all you can.” It makes sense. We work honestly to make a living so we can care for ourselves and our families. Whatever we can save that will help us get through emergencies or financial challenges is good – it’s good to have a “nest egg” if we can do it. Giving all we can means that we don’t forget those who are needy, and we continue to work to help them in whatever ways we are able.
Sharing our time, talent, and treasure to glorify God means that we are using the gifts God has given us, and that we are investing our lives for God to make this world a better place. It doesn’t get any better than that!