A Wise Investor
33rd Sunday Ordinary Time
November 19, 2023
Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.
from Matthew 25:14-30
In today’s gospel Jesus tells of three individuals who were given different sums of money to invest. This parable accurately mirrors our own lives – we are not all alike in giftedness, opportunities or success. Some of us seem to have more talents to offer, some less. But we learn from this parable that God does not judge us on how many “talents” we possess, but on how wisely we invest what we were given, and even more importantly, whether we tried or whether we did not. But there will indeed be an accounting for the gift of our lives when we meet the Lord.
People with a more worldly outlook often judge others (or themselves) by how much wealth they seem to have, the type of job they do and how much status it brings, their beauty or how much creativity they exhibit. Christians can also get caught up into this same habit – basically of judging others or ourselves by externals. You and I have been given certain abilities, and they differ. Not only is it damaging to compare ourselves to others, but this tells us absolutely nothing about what God thinks of us. Comparisons may lead either to pride in ourselves or an inferiority complex. Neither is appropriate.
Perhaps you may feel you have only one talent to offer God, like the third person in the parable. Even if this is true, there is no cause for despair here. God asks only what we are able to do and no more, but he does want us to try and not just sit on our talents. A person who is dealt a hand of “only” one talent and makes two (a 100% return) may be doing far better in God’s view than someone who was given ten talents and only returns fifteen (a 50% return), though it appears this person has done more. But the real loser was the third man. It’s true he only had been given a little, but he was condemned for not even trying. At the end of his life he had done nothing for others, nothing to please God. He just handed his life back to God and insulted him.
The takeaway here is that God’s way of judging our performance is not our way. Thank goodness! He just wants to see that we have tried. The wise investor thinks of others before himself, and does his best not to offend God, conscious that a reward (or punishment) that lasts forever is right around the corner.
Father Gary .