#398 The Parable of the Talents

Using Yours?

In our last +1, we talked about a wise daughter-in-law who planted her seeds and reaped a bountiful harvest.

Another great teacher once told a similar story not too far west of India.

You might have heard of him and his Parable of the Talents. Let’s take a quick look.

But first, how about a fun historical fact? Back in the day, a talent was a unit of money. In fact, it was a pretty good chunk of cash. According to Wikipedia, a talent was worth about 6,000 denarii. A denarius was the usual wage for a day’s labor. So, a talent was worth about 20 YEARS worth of work. If you calculate that based on median yearly wage of $26,363, we’re talking $500,000 per talent in today’s dollars.

Now, onward to the Parable.

Jesus tells us about a wealthy guy who leaves his servants with a bunch of cash — each according to his ability. One guy gets five talents. Another gets two and the last guy gets one.

He’s very pleased that the first two servants put the money to work and doubled it for him.

He’s not so pleased with the last guy who was so scared of losing anything that he buried it. In fact, we’re told that the Lord was FURIOUS with him and cast him out “into outer darkness” to experience “weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Yikes. Tough boss, eh?

Moral of the story: The kingdom of heaven is just like that. We better use our gifts wisely.

And, we don’t need to wait until we die to experience the joy or sorrows of failing to use our gifts. The kingdom of heaven exists RIGHT THIS SECOND. Each moment we have a choice: Step forward into our highest selves or back into safety.

Today’s +1: Don’t bury your talents. Give them to the world.

And experience the joy that goes with that flourishing.

P.S. Recall that the word for happiness in ancient Greek (the language of the Gospels), was eudaimonia—which literally means “good soul.” The kingdom of heaven exists when we are connected to the best within ourselves—giving our greatest gifts in greatest service to the world.

P.P.S. I grew up in a devoutly Catholic family. I can vividly remember my mom grabbing me by my shoulders when I was a young boy after doing something she didn’t like. She admonished me in the strongest possible terms (I have tears in my eyes as I type this): “God gave you gifts. You must give them to the world!”

What are we supposed to do with those talents? Serve. Profoundly.

Let’s do this!!

Unlock the full Optimize Experience

Get instant access to a ton of wisdom. Optimize every facet of your life. Actualize your potential.

Start free trial