We can learn a great deal by watching young children. They are born with unconditional love and an unburdened innocence that allows them to dream without boundaries. They continue to shape their own individuality as they mature into teens and young adults. Parents observe with love as aptitudes such as artist, writer, listener, or advocate form their lives’ mission. Our children ultimately find within themselves talents that can yield big results in their chosen occupations, relationships, or ministerial roles. Some are learned but I believe most are attributed to what God has given each of us as gifts waiting to be shared.
In today’s Gospel we hear the parable of the talents. Three are provided an opportunity to grow what has been given them. Two achieve this while the third decides to accept openly what has been entrusted to him but chooses to bury it. His choice has deep personal ramifications while also limiting the growth otherwise available to others. Not unlike this parable, our own decisions and actions with small matters can indeed impact us personally as well as others we encounter.
Each of us should return to what has allowed young children to dream and develop their talents openly. We must pay close attention to small matters that can mean so much in how we support our loved ones and neighbors in need, but we cannot do it alone. Everyone has a responsibility to share his or her God given gifts. Doing so can ensure that topics we personally find most difficult to achieve or face also get the attention they deserve.
I like to think of the sum of our lives’ possibilities as a yardstick. We likely will only have enough time, talent, or treasure in our own lifetime to address just one inch of the overall thirty-six. The good news is that each of us can make a difference with our portion. Equally important is that though we are all created in the image and likeness of God, we are given individual abilities and talents. Our contribution of God’s love to the world is therefore an opportunity to grow in wisdom and holiness as inch after inch continues to build.