Sunday, November 16, 2008

On God-given talents, and how to drive

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

"...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..."

The Parable of the talents - Mat 25:14-30


During the time of Jesus, a talent was an amount, thirty grams of precious metal, but in this parable when Jesus spoke of talents he referred to the abilities given by God to each of us. Since then, people came to understand the word "talent" in this sense.

This reminds me of the priest and the taxi driver who both went to heaven. In heaven, St. Peter led the taxi driver to a spacious mansion, while the priest was led to a modest cabin. "Isn't this a mixup? Shouldn't I get the mansion instead?", protested the priest. "After all, I was a priest, and I preached sermons every day". 'Yes, that's true", St Peter said "But during your sermons, people slept. When the taxi driver drove, everyone prayed.".

To be fair, it is really about how we use our talents with the right intentions. God really looks at our hearts, and He will take care of the results. The parable of the talents narrates ..."to one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one-- to each according to his ability." God won't give us more than we an handle, but whatever gifts He bestows upon us, we must use for His glory, for "the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.". The parable is best understood with the one that comes before it - "The Parable of the Ten Virgins", and the passage that comes after it - "the Judgement of Nations". ..."For you neither know the day nor the hour.." and, "for I was hungry and you gave me food...".

In retrospect, the priest in the story above is doing a good thing on earth, although it might be said that he could have improved on his teaching talent. On the other hand, the taxi driver must understand that the end does not justify the means. He could have just preached to his passengers while driving carefully. Preaching though, is a difficult job and requires continuous mastery. Whenever I myself am invited to deliver a CLP talk, I usually warn the participants upfront:
"Hindi po bawal ang matulog. Ang pinagbabawal po ay ang maghilik. Kasi baka magising ang katabi nyo".
(It is allowed to sleep. What is not allowed is to snore. Your seatmate might wake up.)

Each one of us has been given certain talents in certain degrees. Whatever we do with our God-given talents, we can be sure God is watching and listening attentively. and He never sleeps.


sunnyday said...

Nice :-)

That part about the taxi driver making passengers pray made me laugh!

Anonymous said...

I like your CLP Talk intro "Di bawal matulog....hope it is not patented...very funny.


WillyJ said...

No, its not patented, go ahead use it in your talks. Lakasan mo yan intro at nang magising agad :-)