“Well done, my good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21)
Easily my favorite topic of meditation is pondering Heaven and all its glory. My dream and ultimate goal for life is to slowly approach the magnificent gates of God’s Kingdom, to look upon the smiling face of my Heavenly Father, and to hear him say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
We learn in today’s Gospel that the Master only gives that warm welcome to certain of his servants. Clearly the form of “talents” in the Gospel is a monetary reference, however I do enjoy the double entendre in its English translation. As Jesus explains in his parable, each of us, no matter our importance, is entrusted with a certain set of skills, each to serve God in a special way. I believe that we all-too-often view these talents selfishly by keeping their focus on us, as our talents. We compare our gifts with others and attempt to rank them by importance. God blesses us with gifts so as to better enable us to serve him. Our Master expects us to produce results. As a personal example, God has made me comfortable and confident in social settings. In order to serve him with what he gave me, I am called to offer support to others to build them up with praise. If I do so, I would return to my Master with more than he originally gave me. Keeping quiet when a friend needs an encouraging compliment would be to “bury” my “talent” in the ground and return it to my Master unused.
One of God’s greatest gifts to us is the invitation for a close relationship with him. Exactly the same as our other gifts from him, when used fully and truly implemented into our lives, that gift will enable us to be better, more productive servants. With that in mind, those who are fully utilizing the gift of an intimate relationship with God should be recognized and praised. Regardless of our personal skills (our gifts from God), we should remember to praise God and to give him the credit for our accomplishments. When we are doing so, it’s not arrogant for us to share in his glory. One of my love languages is sharing words of praise, so I love pointing out to others when they are successfully using their talents for God’s glory. Therefore, I’ve reflected often on the last verses in Proverbs (today’s first reading).
As the first reading mentions, “a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised,” (Proverbs 31:30). I appreciate this for two reasons. The first of which is that we as a society are altogether terrible at receiving compliments; hence this verse serves as a good reminder that it is permissible and joyous to be praised and complimented for our God-given gifts. Secondly, as a Catholic man, it’s healthy to be reminded of what I’m looking for in a future wife. It’s easy to get caught up in a lady’s physical appearance and neglect the value of her more important qualities. When I stop to think about it, it’s those deeper traits that truly draw me to a lady. Most importantly, a woman who can use our relationship to draw us both closer to God is significantly attractive to me. In doing so, she will inevitably help both of us attain the goal of hearing our Father’s welcoming words when we approach his gates as a “good and faithful servant.” Each of these beautiful aspects of her relationship with our Lord is worthy of praise.
Sometimes it’s good to keep in mind these basics regarding our gifts from God. Remembering the true reasons that we should be attracted to our significant others helps us bear in mind that God wants us to build our respective relationships around him. Secondly, this serves as a reminder to offer and willingly receive praises of our God-given gifts.
Rather than bury our talents in the ground, let’s consciously recognize the gifts God has given us and make a concerted effort to utilize them for his greater glory. When we notice it in others, let us praise our brothers and sisters for serving God through their gifts.