Today’s Gospel reading about the nobleman leaving his servants with gold coins was one I had to read carefully several times and even explore some commentary on. Jesus is trying to share a lot in this single parable and I wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing any of it. Sometimes I catch myself flying through a reading without stopping to really let it sink in and comprehend what God’s intention was behind writing it. It is a good practice for me to slow down, meditate on it, question it, and even seek other’s interpretation so that I don’t let Jesus’ teaching fall on deaf ears.
In this instance, the crowds had gathered around him that day expecting the kingdom to appear before them. Jesus used the parable to teach them that he would be leaving the world, although not empty handed, and would return again to meet us. While not necessarily gold coins, I think about all that Jesus did leave behind—the Holy Spirit, the Word, and unique gifts bestowed to us individually that together contribute to the body of Christ.
In giving us these gifts, Jesus expects that we would use them. It reminds me of the parable of the lamp in Mark 4:21, “Then Jesus asked them, ‘Would anyone light a lamp and then put it under a basket or under a bed? Of course not! A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light will shine.” When we are given gifts from the heavenly Father like these servants were, we are to use them to glorify God.
When the nobleman heard that one servant had hidden his coin because he was fearful of the master, he was angry. He set his expectations clearly and saw that the servant was lacking trust and faith in his master to not have put his gift to good use. I wonder if God sees me that way at times? Are there gifts I am not using because I am too timid or don’t quite trust that they are good enough to be used for Christ? I know I feel that way about the gift of evangelism. I don’t know if I have that gift. I am worried about offending people, losing friendships, saying the wrong thing, having the other party raise questions I can’t answer, etc. But God called us to share the Good News. If that is his command then I shouldn’t worry about how I view my gift, I should exercise it because God has generously bestowed it on me. We don’t need to worry about what the world says about our gifts or who we are; we need only worry about who God says we are.