Skill Set 11-19-2023

Today’s Gospel poses two questions that are surprisingly hard for
many of us to answer.
First: What are we good at?
None of us is a total disaster; we aren’t completely devoid of any
skills or (to use the Gospel word) “talents”. We may not be able to
perform brain surgery, but we can comfort a child just stung by a bee.
We may not be able to paint beautiful watercolors, but we can roast a
chicken and bake a pie that brings the family together on Sunday nights.
We may not be a CEO, but when customers leave our checkout line,
they’re a bit happier and lighter in spirit because of the warm way we
treated them.
So never mind the false modesty – answer the question: What are
we good at? What do we do well? What’s the most meaningful
contribution we can make to our family or church or community: the
compassion to encourage and support others? The discipline to manage
people? The patience to listen?
The second question: What are we doing with that talent?
If we can make a living off our talent and skill, terrific – but how
are we contributing the good we possess to make the Kingdom of God a
reality here and now? To keep our “talents” to ourselves is a betrayal of
God’s trust; to act as if we have nothing to contribute is an act of
ingratitude to the God who gave those skills and abilities to us.
So, what has God entrusted to you – and that’s the word: entrusted.
What has God invested in you for the good of the world? We seldom
see the question that way. We’re taught how to monetize whatever
talents and skills we possess, translating our knowledge and abilities into
successful careers. Or we’re overwhelmed with a false sense of
humility: We don’t think our gifts are worth all that much to begin with,
so we keep them to ourselves for our own amusement or diversion. But
today’s parable challenges us to see whatever “talents” we possess – be
they the ability to manage a big organization or the quiet patience to heal
a hurting child – as a sacred trust. And our lives will be judged by how
we used our “talents”, whether earth moving or quietly healing, to
realize God’s Kingdom of mercy and justice in our time and place.


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