Jesus told his disciples this parable: “A man going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one–to each according to his ability. Then he went away. Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them, and made another five. Likewise, the one who received two made another two. But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money. After a long time the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them. The one who had received five talents came forward bringing the additional five. He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents. See, I have made five more. ‘His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’ Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two talents. See, I have made two more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’ Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter; so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. Here it is back.’ His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant and gather where I did not scatter? Should you not then have put my money in the bank so that I could have got it back with interest on my return? Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten. For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.'”
Today, there are numerous television, cable, and on-line talent showcases. From “America’s Got Talent” to “American Idol” to “Dancing with the Stars” and beyond. Moving one-ring out from the bulls-eye is a myriad of awards shows. From the Oscars to the Tony’s to the People’s Choice Awards to the Emmy’s to the Grammy’s to the ESPY’s and beyond. Moving just one more ring out from the bulls-eye and we find yet more showcases of talent and awards from High School Award Banquets to State/County/Region awards to music/dance recitals to spelling bees and beyond. We have thousands of ways to recognize talent and share our praises publicly for the achievements of people around the world. These are Earthly awards and, while we can enjoy them, we cannot be consumed by them nor allow them to define us. We are Predestined and Defined by God. “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 I’ve heard it said that, “Trophies are for track stars.” I like that. While we all need to find our Spiritual Gifts and use them for the Lord, we are not meant to boast about the Gifts or seek Earthly glory. Our Glory awaits us in Heaven via a Father who loves each and every one of us more than we can ever comprehend. “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. Truly I tell you, they already have their reward.…” Matthew 6:4-5 It’s no coincidence that the Lord uses the word “Talent” to equal “Treasures” here in this week’s Gospel. Let us all find and hone our Talents from God all for His Glory alone.