God, the giver of all talent(s), expects something from us — God expects a return on the investment made in us.
Talents are given to us to be used — to be used not merely for our own benefit – but to be put into the hands of God to be used for the benefit of others.
The Gospel this weekend [Matthew 25:14-30] reminds us of the expression — use it or lose it! In reality, it is not God who “takes it away”, it is I who squander it.
Most of us can think of talents we have developed through hard work — George Springer, outfielder for the Houston Astros, grew up with a very serious stuttering issue. Through years of hard work, he has overcome the stuttering problem so as to not only speak clearly in press interviews —- but also to be a spokesperson for young people who battle a stuttering issue.
Every classroom teacher (and many parents) have witnessed students not living up to their potential. Students who are not developing a God-given talent to learn as much as possible — instead, too many students want to know, “what grade do I need to pass?”
Coaches have seen star athletes not taking academics seriously enough — athletes who cannot accept a scholarship because their ACT score is too low — or they have failed to take the necessary classes to attend a major university on an athletic scholarship.
God does not want us to give the talent back — God wants us to use and develop the talent so that it becomes more than it was at the beginning.
Institutions as well as individuals can fail to meet God’s expectations:
A Church can squander [bury] its financial treasure by wasting money on unimportant things while neglecting its mission to feed, clothe, house, and educate those in need. A Church can squander [bury] its moral authority by saying one thing and doing another — by failing to be an advocate for Gospel values while serving its selfish interests.
A school system can bury its talent by taking care of those who can care for themselves while neglecting the underserved and those having trouble achieving success.
What about us right here — today —
1. For school students – especially those in high school and college — to what degree are you WORKING to enhance your knowledge, your critical thinking? 90%? 70%? 40%?
Is your goal to get a diploma/degree or to truly learn EVERYTHING possible?
Why might you not be living up to your FULL POTENTIAL? Lack of interest? No motivation? Laziness? Focused on something else — boy/girl friend? Lack of belief in self?
2. For all of us —— what talent are we not sharing with the community? the talent of music which could be used in the choir, as a cantor, by singing in the congregation?
the ability to drive a nail — which could be shared with Habitat for Humanity or home-repair projects?
3. What about the talent of listening or compassion that could be shared with those in nursing/care facilities —- or the homebound?
4. What about financial gifts that are being used only for our self-interest? Are we faithful to sharing through tithing —- 5% with our Church and 5% with the needs of the world?
5. What about the talent of courage? Are we speaking “our truth” in a world that tends to be harsh and negative? Do we point out the positive? Do we speak the truth to power?
Today is a day for COUNTING BLESSINGS AND TALENTS. Today is a day to say Thanks to God for what I have! Today is also a day to ask forgiveness for our failures to use and develop what has been given to us. Today is a day to think and to plan how we can use what we have for our good and the good of others —- before we lose it.
Looking back and saying, “I wish I had ….” is very sad and depressing. Looking forward and saying, “What I have — will be used for others ….. by ____________.”
On the day of accounting [reckoning] let us not be afraid of God’s wrath when he asks “how we have used our talent” ——- but rather, let us be hopeful that God will be pleased that we have used — what little or great we have —- to yield a rich harvest.
No one has nothing —- everyone has something to share.