Monday, November 10, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

Today’s text

Matthew 25:14-18

'It is like a man about to go abroad who summoned his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to a third one, each in proportion to his ability. Then he set out on his journey. The man who had received the five talents promptly went and traded with them and made five more. The man who had received two made two more in the same way. But the man who had received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.


I wonder, Lord, why did this fellow give anything to the person who had less ability? Why not send him to work for one of the others who have more ability? Everyone would have been happier, and the outcome would have improved for all involved in the transaction.

I know this a parable and intended to shake up my understanding, but there is injustice here at the start. It’s an injustice of expectation. Did he really expect the person of lesser ability to suddenly change and improve? The situation seems set up for failure, which of course comes in due time.

But I am struck by the actions of the three. Two took a risk, and one did not. Two trusted that something good might come; the other lived in fear. And fear, I know, is the great enemy of the spiritual life, so much so that the best and wisest leaders of human souls often stand before their charges and speak two words: ‘Fear not.’

Pope John Paul II did it again and again. In war times, leaders like FDR repeated such words during times of darkest night. The Dali Lama says the same to his oppressed people. And you, Jesus, speak to us in clearest terms, “Do not be afraid. The One who cares for the sparrow is ever near and sees you, too. And I am with you always.”

One man in the parable was afraid, and fear controlled his action. One was governed by fear and the others by … what? Hope? Courage? Trust? The simple ability to live with risk? What is it that you ask of us?

In the silence of conscience, your answer is clear: “Be not afraid. Use what great or small gift you have in my service. Leave the rest to me.

“And don’t live in fear. You need not. Whatever your outcomes in this life, your life remains in me. All is well.

"Cast your fear to the wind … and act.”

Pr. David L. Miller

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