Friday, February 20, 2015

The Trouble With Talents

I like Jesus.  He has some pretty cool stories.  I like the ones about helping people and the ones about forgiving.  Of course, his parables are open to interpretation, and that is when the trouble starts.  One parable that has troubled me most of my life is the parable of the talents.  This post is not intended to be a Sunday School lesson, so I will not get into the details.  If you have questions about the parable, Google it.

The trouble I have with this parable is the definition of a talent.  As a younger man and through most of my adulthood, I sat through the same classes that echoed the importance of talents from the parable as modern talents (like dancing, singing, and playing the damned piano).  I don't have many fancy talents; I don't dance, sing, or play the piano, so I often felt this lesson didn't apply to me.  I always felt bad for the last guy.  He only got one talent (cooking maybe) and didn't want to lose it, so he just focused on the one talent and kept it safe.  Why should he get in trouble when he kept his talent?  Makes.  No.  Sense.

Unfortunately, when something doesn't make sense to me, it keeps percolating through my brain until it finally rings true.  My answer: A talent was an extremely large sum of money--enough to take care of a household for several years.  Talent=Great Worth.  Something of great worth in a spiritual story is a Truth.  Talent=Truth.

Now tell yourself the story using truth for talents.  Three people are given huge amounts of truth and knowledge.  Two of them use those truths to build up their understanding of the cosmos and explore their world (art, poetry, chemistry, biology, history, philosophy, astronomy, architecture, religion) --adding to their initial truths (good for them).  The third person is also given a tremendous gift of truth, but chooses to ignore the rest of the world around him.  He sticks to what he knows because he believes learning anything else might take away from what he was given (not advisable).

The thing about Truth is it's everywhere.  Don't limit yourself to just one book, church, country, philosophy, religion, god, dance, song, or piano.  We all start out with the basics.  What do you do with yours?