Saint Paul says: “Concerning times and seasons…you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.”
What better reason could we have for making the best use of our “talents” in this life and for accepting and performing the “greater responsibilities” God gives us, with full desire on our part to serve him by serving our neighbor?
The “worthy wife” of the Book of Proverbs is given to us as the model of one who uses her talents well and who is responsible in the greater things expected of her. She is the one to whom her husband entrusts his heart. She “works with loving hands,” “reaches out her hands to the poor and extends her arms to the needy.” When it comes to living the vocation that God has given her, she is obviously the proverbial “cup filled up and overflowing.” Like the servants spoken of in the gospel who “made another five” and “another two” this woman stands to receive the invitation, “Come share in your Master’s joy!”
The “talents” of the gospel, while referring to a considerable amount of money in those days, is taken by most of us to mean whatever the Creator has given us by way of personal skills, abilities, “charisms,” gifts and resource. At every stage of our lives we are expected to move beyond our fears and to take the risk of using such skills and gifts to get through school, apply for a job, marry and begin a family, dedicate oneself as a single person, perhaps vowed in religion or ordained. Until we draw our last breath our Lord and Master expects us and calls us to produce a generous return on his investment in us. Again, such is the presumption of the wonderful and attractive wife of the Book of Proverbs.
Another way to consider the Lord’s expectation of a true disciple is “going the extra mile.” Doing “the over and above,” as husband or wife, son or daughter, teacher or student, white collar or blue collar, priest or politician, is to live as “children of the light and of the day.” At the same time and on the other hand, going through life “short sheeting God” is the equivalent of being the people whom St. Paul calls “asleep” and who choose to hide in darkness—equivalently to “bury our God-given talents.”
Instead then, let us celebrate the very fact that God HAS invested in us and show our thanks and praise by living a life abundant in its return. After all, such a life is only destined to share for all eternity in the Master’s joy.