But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money. (Matthew 25:18)

I am constantly amazed at talented people, particularly the folks around our congregation that are extremely talented. Some of us are talented with art. Others with finance and business decisions. Some of us are really great cooks. Still others are wonderful hosts to guests in their homes. Looking around at Westminster is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to talent.

This is an interesting parable that Jesus tells during his last week of life (take a look at the whole thing if you have a second, Matthew 25:14-30). We can pretty quickly assume that the "master" in the story is God, and that in some way we are to represent the servants. If that's true, then there are a few things that we quickly notice in the story:

1) The master gives everyone something. Nobody in this story is given nothing at all. Each one of the servants in the master's house is trusted with something, even if it's just one talent. There are times that we at Veritas will be looking for a volunteer for a specific job, and folks around the church will try to convince me that they aren't very talented, that I wouldn't want them there. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Sure, some people have 5 talents compared to another person's 1, but there are still talents all around.

2) Investment requires risk. What frequently goes unnoticed in this story is that while the first two servants are able to double their master's money, it was every bit as likely that they could have lost everything. I'm not sure what the biblical times equivalent of the stock market would have been, but these guys were inevitably opening themselves up to loss. And from the way the master talks to the third servant, it appears as though he would have been completely ok with that. The master in this case seems to value risk versus playing it safe. Some of us are afraid to risk our talents. Some of us are afraid to step out and make an investment. If you are a talented musician, and you step out to perform, there is a chance it will blow up in your face. If you are a talented business person, there's a chance the thing could go belly up. But God continues to call us to risk.

3) When we bury our talents, other's suffer. The God character in this parable gets really mad with the guy who buried his talents. And truth be told, I think God gets a little peeved at us when we bury our talents today. How many students go un tutored after school because some folks bury their teaching talents? How much art goes un appreciated because some folks bury their gifts? How many tremendous ideas go unheard because some folks bury their thoughts in themselves? Take a step out, take a risk, and invest those talents. Maybe you double your investment, or maybe you go belly up. But I bet the ride will be more than worth it!

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