I just finished listening to a podcast by Rob Bell called ‘You and your bags of gold.’ It was based on the parable of the bags of gold (sometimes known as parable of the talents) in Matthew 25:14-30.
I’ve always found this parable a little daunting. This might sound weird, but I’m someone to whom much has been given. I’m healthy, musical and was able to get good grades at school. I grew up with amazing parents and sisters, and now I am married to a wonderful man with whom I have just had a son. I find this parable daunting because I feel a bit like the person with the 5 bags of gold, and I need to put them to work. I worry that I am wasting God’s good gifts and burying them in the ground.
Rob put a very different slant on it all. The sums of money Jesus was talking about were utterly ridiculous. Millions. The master could have simply put his money in the charge of bankers where it would be safe, but instead he entrusts it to his servants. That is crazy behaviour – massive risk. The master is totally extravagant, and loves it when people participate with him, as is seen by his response to the first two servants: “Come, share in your master’s happiness.” Once they have participated, they are invited to participate some more.
The third servant didn’t participate, and that is why he lost out. He had a faulty understanding of the character of his master.
In choosing to have a baby and go on maternity leave, I feel like so many of the things I was doing have been buried in the ground to be dug up later. I feel frustrated at being trapped in the daily feed, play, nap routine. I worry I am not doing the work I have been given the tools to do.
But actually, my son is part of the extravagant gift. He is one of my bags of gold. Each day I can look at him and think how unbelievably gorgeous he is, and how I get to pour all of my love and grace upon him. Through him I can participate in the master’s happiness.
One day soon I’ll be back to work and a new phase of life will begin. A new bag of gold will be given to me by the one who is generous and true. I’m going to choose to enjoy and appreciate it and take part – no sulking on the sidelines.