This week I read and pondered, once again, the Parable of the Talents. We know that parables can have multiple layers of meaning, that was the point, right? I mean to disguise the true meaning from those who were not ready to receive it.
The parable of the talents has always been quite puzzling to me. I have tried, but struggled to see it as anything more than what it says on the surface, talents as literally talents or maybe money. I just couldn’t stretch my brain any farther than that for some reason. But this week, I made a little progress. I still don’t claim to fully understand what the Savior wanted us to understand with this parable, but I’m getting closer.
I was struck by this scripture: Matthew 25:30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Outer darkness is serious business. It seems like the Savior is talking about a lot more than whether you practice the piano (or some other talent) or not. So what was he referring to?
In talking to my peers, in my religion class, we came up with a variety of ideas ranging from spirituality, Gifts of the Spirit, and time. Maybe it is a combination of all of them.
Something else I noticed that I don’t recall noticing before is that both of the first two servants appeared to receive the same reward. They were given different amounts of talents, but both seemed to do the best they could, and they were both rewarded. The third did nothing and was severely punished. What I take from this is that even if we feel others have been more blessed than we have with (insert whatever you like here…talents, money, time etc), what the Lord cares most about is that we do SOMETHING with what we have been given. Effort is rewarded, and sloth is punished.
I hope that we are all being profitable servants. The good news is that if we haven’t been, there’s still time to do better. That is the beauty of the Atonement and forgiveness. We are given as many chances to improve as we will accept. Which makes me think, maybe repentance is a “talent”. Hmmm.