While people were listening to Jesus speak, he proceeded to tell a parable because he was near Jerusalem and they thought that the Kingdom of God would appear there immediately. So he said, “A nobleman went off to a distant country to obtain the kingship for himself and then to return. He called ten of his servants and gave them ten gold coins and told them, ‘Engage in trade with these until I return.’ His fellow citizens, however, despised him and sent a delegation after him to announce, ‘We do not want this man to be our king.’ But when he returned after obtaining the kingship, he had the servants called, to whom he had given the money, to learn what they had gained by trading. The first came forward and said, ‘Sir, your gold coin has earned ten additional ones.’ He replied, ‘Well done, good servant! You have been faithful in this very small matter; take charge of ten cities.’ Then the second came and reported, ‘Your gold coin, sir, has earned five more.’ And to this servant too he said, ‘You, take charge of five cities.’ Then the other servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your gold coin; I kept it stored away in a handkerchief, for I was afraid of you, because you are a demanding man; you take up what you did not lay down and you harvest what you did not plant.’ He said to him, ‘With your own words I shall condemn you, you wicked servant. You knew I was a demanding man, taking up what I did not lay down and harvesting what I did not plant; why did you not put my money in a bank? Then on my return I would have collected it with interest.’ And to those standing by he said, ‘Take the gold coin from him and give it to the servant who has ten.’ But they said to him, ‘Sir, he has ten gold coins.’ He replied, ‘I tell you, to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. Now as for those enemies of mine who did not want me as their king, bring them here and slay them before me.’” After he had said this, he proceeded on his journey up to Jerusalem. ( Luke 19:11-28)
In today’s scripture, we learn of how our Lord entrusts the subjects of his kingdom with gifts and graces and he gives his subjects the freedom to use them as they think best. As the parable of the talents shows, God honors those who use their talents and gifts for doing good. Those who are faithful with even a little are entrusted with more! But those who squander what God has entrusted to them will lose what they have.
Many people and preachers will focus on the third servant whose one coin was taken away.
But I suggest we take a different perspective. It deals with the affirmation of the other two servants. They used their talents for God and received his praise. The parable tells us more about the Master affirming his servants than it does about the third servant.
It seems to be in limited quantities these days. Too many cultures around the world indulge more in negativity and anger than they do in holding up and praising others. Those cultures will face the fate of the third servant.
We are called by our Lord to so much more. We are called to exult in being a son or daughter of God. We are called to take that privilege and to use it for His good, not ours.
Affirmation rather than negativity. How do we adopt one and lose the other?
It begins with looking inward at ourselves. By claiming and believing in God’s love for us. Even though we may choose to not to believe that, God is affirming us every moment of our lives. That’s powerful.
We need to remember that especially at those points in our life when we hit a setback. When we let down our spouse. When we have suffered a serious rupture in a friendship. When a child goes astray and walks away us. When, as ageing parents, we don’t feel the love and concern of our children.
Especially in those times we need to remember his love. Because God is saying to us, “Well done, good and trustworthy servant. You are a good parent. You are a good spouse. You are a good grandmother, a good sister. You have used your talents generously and faithfully. You have been strong and a support to others.”
God’s affirmation of us is the source of power and life. We must take it in. We must believe it. We must let it touch our hearts and strengthen us.
And one other consideration.
We are expected to use that affirmation in our daily lives. For when we do that, we are acting in the image of God.
Look at your daily life. The manner in which you are raising your children. The manner in which you interact with your spouse. The manner in which you treat a friend.
When was the last time that you truly praised your daughter or your son and let the both of you enjoy and grow through that praise? Always remember that your affirmation of a child means the world to him or hear.
What about your spouse. Instead of letting the daily grind get in the way of how you see your spouse or even a very close friend. Do you stop enough and appreciate why they mean so much to you? Do you let them know that they occupy an important part of your life and it means so much to you?
All of this should lead you to one important realization. There is a sense of power and healing when someone you love affirms you or you affirm another.
And that is acting in the image and likeness of God. Now that is amazing!
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, be the ruler of my heart and mind and the master of my home. Fill me with a generous and wise spirit that I may use the gifts, talents, time, and resources you give me for your glory and your kingdom.”
Jesus offers us a kingdom of justice, love, and peace and he calls us to live as citizens of this kingdom. Through the power of the Holy Spirit the Lord gives us freedom to live as his servants and to lay down our lives in loving service of our neighbors (Galatians 5:1,13). Do you trust in God’s grace to make good use of the gifts and talents he has given you?