‘Again it will be like a man going on a journey…’ (Matthew 25:14-30)
It seems clear that in its original context this parable was aimed at the Scribes and Pharisees who may have been listening to what he was saying. They were the ones entrusted with the Torah and its application but their attitude to the law and truth of God was such that they wanted to keep it exactly as it was. In theory this might have been okay, however, in practical terms their application was so regimented that it became like a ‘ticking of the boxes’ and going through the procedures. They ‘practised’ their faith devoid of any love or compassion – the very things that should have been at the heart of the law – and they stopped others from doing so as well.
But for us today there is more to it than this. This passage tells us that God gives us all gifts, but not all gifts are the same and nor should we expect them to be same. The important thing is how we use the gifts God has given us – no matter what they might be. The gifts we are given are not simply for our own self-edification, although they undoubtedly can help us grow in faith. Rather, they are intended to be used as we play our part in the building up of God’s Kingdom, so whatever gifts we have should be used in our worship and service of the Lord.
As to the reward for doing so – more work to undertake in His name. The work of the Kingdom is never done and we should all do what we can, whenever we can, in that service. The worst thing we can do is nothing! Even if we try and use our gifts but somehow fail in our goal, still that is better than not using our gifts at all.
There is a saying in life that applies to almost every talent or skill that any of us may have. Use it or lose it! Playing a musical instrument, participating in any sporting activity, the pursuit of academic qualifications – unless we use the gifts we have been given in these areas we will ultimately lose them. In terms of our faith life the same applies. Unless we use our God given gifts in His service and in the service of others, we will lose them – and what then!