Sometimes It Just Works
On November 13, 2011, the Gospel story that was shared with the people of my parish was the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30).
Just to refresh your memory, here’s a synopsis of the parable: there was a landowner who had business away from his land. He entrusted three of his workers with some money (talents). A talent is the equivalent of 60 mina and one mina is equal to 60 shekels. . . I’ll let you do the math. At any rate, one worker was left in care of five talents, one was responsible for two and the last, one talent. When the landowner returned he asked for an accounting of the talents. Two of the workers had been bold and ended up doubling the money left with them. The person with one talent didn’t do anything with it and just handed the money back to his boss. Things didn’t turn out so well for him.
I decided that I would conduct a small experiment that Sunday. I called three people from each of the congregations that heard the story. I gave an envelope to each of the three people. I upped the ante a bit and in one envelope there was $10, in another $5 and the third $2.
I told the people who received the envelopes that as the “landowner” I was “going away” for six months, and when I returned there would be an accounting of the “talents” that they had been given. So, I left nine envelopes with a total of $51 to be cared for by these trustworthy “workers.”
This is not the first time I have ever conducted this experiment. But I must say that it is the first time when the people who received the “talents” actually grasped what I was attempting to do.
There have been people who were paralyzed with fear wondering what they should do with the money. There have been people who simply ignored what was asked of them and kept the money. But these “stewards” of my money actually managed to figure it out.
Many people believe that the story is about money. Many believe it’s a story about talents as we understand the term today.
I believe that the core of the story is about relationships. It’s about the relationship that the workers had with their employer.
Metaphorically it’s a story about the relationship that we have with God. If we use what God gives us with the best of intentions, it shows that we want to be in relationship with God. If we do nothing with the gifts that God gives us, then we tend to ignore not only our gifts, but God as well.
When we had the accounting of the “talents” on May 13, 2012, I was so impressed. I felt that I needed to share it with you.
My initial $51 was returned and along with that there was $496. The stories that were shared were varied. Each story, as it was told, involved telling about the person being in relationship with me but more importantly, they thought about their relationship with God.
That’s what it was about – being in relationship with God and using what they had been given to the glory of God and the benefit of the world.
The Dundas County Food Bank received from this “landowner” a donation of $547 thanks to the faithful relationships of the “workers” of my parish.
Sometimes, it just works!!!
Rev. Sue McCullough
Anglican Parish of Morrisburg, Iroquois & Riverside Heights