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"Your talent is God's gift to you; what you do with that talent is your gift to God."

A poster prominently displayed in a Sunday School classroom said,

"Your talent is God's gift to you; what you do with that talent is your gift to God."

In the Gospel we'll hear on Sunday, Jesus tells the story of a man who, before going on a journey, summons three servants and entrusts them with different amounts of money, measured in "talents" (from which we get our modern day word and understanding of talent).

They're not given the same number of talents: God gives each of us different gifts. We are always so tempted to compare ourselves with other people: who's got what, who's better at this and who's better at that.

But we are only asked to make full use of what we have been given.

We all have talents. Some people are very gifted at music; others at sports; some have a very high IQ, others are good listeners. But there is no one, absolutely no one, who can say they have been gifted with nothing.

The question is not, "do I have gifts?" the question is, "what am I doing with the gifts I have been given? Am I using them, or burying them?"

(If you don't know what your gifts are, then your first priority is to find out, or be reminded. The first step in doing that is to ask yourself, "what am I good at, passionate about, and comes naturally to me?--what makes me feel most fully alive?" The second step is to ask a few others (and I'd be happy to be one of those others) those same questions, until you get clarity.)

Two of the men in the story invest, or take risks with what they have been given. They are rewarded. But the third man safeguards (buries) the money. He is punished.

What a fascinating couple of points Jesus is making, and which we'll explore further on Sunday:

One, those who take risks by investing their gifts find themselves even more enriched. 

Two, the one who is cautious with what he's been entrusted with did not lose it, he did not do anything at all with it. If he had tried and failed, he would have been met with compassion and forgiveness.

Folks, it's a scary, but also liberating thought: it is not just those who do evil deeds who lose out, but those who have no positive good works to show for what they've been entrusted with. We are not punished for failure. We are punished for playing it safe. A dull, lifeless routine is more offensive to God than a lively albeit sinful one. At least with the lively sinful life, God's got something to work with and redeem!  

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