Trust me. I know firsthand.
Twenty-two years ago, I threw one so amazing that I even served snacks. I had just graduated from college and was a custodian — and really really really felt sorry for myself. I walked around with a black cloud over my head and had a copy of my diploma on my trash barrel. One Sunday, the preacher changed my life by preaching on the Parable of the Talents. If you’re not familiar with Matthew 24:10-15, the story goes something like this: A master left his talents (money) with three servants. One got five, one two and one one. The one with five invested wisely and doubled them. So did the one with two talents. But the one with one was afraid of losing his master’s precious talent and buried it. Soon, the master came home and was pleased with the first two servants. He was all grins and gave them even more talents. But when he got to the one who had buried his, he was mad as a rabid hornet. There was gnashing of teeth and all that great anger stuff. It was one of the angrier moments in the New Testament.
That was me. I was that guy. I was the servant burying his “talent.” And for whatever reason, I was afraid and not drawing.But as soon as I started using my gifts again, doors opened wide — and here I sit today. In the two decades since, I have believed everyone must use the gifts given to them to the fullest.
Last night after 2 a.m., I had an epiphany.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t often have epiphanies. And I’m never up at 2 a.m. But for some reason it happened. It may have because of a Christmas day filled with gluttony. It may because my mother is in the hospital again. I’m not sure. But I saw a whole new meaning to what “talent” means.
Talent is the life given to us.
Some of us are given more life than others. And some do more with the life that’s given to them. As I laid staring at the ceiling last night, I wondered — what if the master was mad because servant didn’t live his life to the fullest? Did he waste the precious gift he had been given? Was the servant’s true sin fear?
I knew that talent wasn’t just money. But I thought maybe it isn’t just ability. Maybe it’s life itself.
A college professor told me once not to be a like a water bug, skimming over the surface of life. I think about how many times I’ve been that water bug and taken the safe choice. And how many times I’ve been the servant who’s afraid.
Sleep kissed me goodnight and I faded into restless dreams. As my world faded into darkness, I vowed to make the most of the talents I’ve been given. Now it’s my daily prayer — I promise to my Master that I’ll live my life to the fullest.
And not to eat so much right before bedtime.