Take those talents off the shelf

My father was quite versatile around the house and rarely called for help from professional tradesmen. As a child, I was fascinated by his ability to use tools so easily. It seemed like magic that he could hit the same place twice with a hammer. It came as a surprise to him, though, when I chose carpentry as my vocation after finishing school. He was pleased, and showed his support by giving me the very hammer I had seen him use so often.

Now, this old hammer had a lot of sentimental value. Yet I didn't put it away for safekeeping. I chose to use it for what it was intended, to hammer. For many years, I used it in all the houses I helped build. This tool would have been of no practical value had I simply put it away.

Many years later, I remembered my decision while I was studying the Bible, specifically, the parable of the talents, found in Matthew 25. A man, before travelling to a distant country, called his servants to give them his money to take care of. To the first one he gave five talents (an amount of money), the second received two, and the third, one. While the first two servants invested their talents wisely and doubled what they had received, the last one hoarded his and buried it in the ground, earning nothing. When their master returned, the first two were rewarded for their faithfulness. The third one, however, because of his miserliness, not only lost what he was entrusted with but was severely punished by his employer.

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August 14, 2000

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