What does God expect from you? Simply to use the grace you are individually given. What does this really mean? Well, Jesus gave us a parable to explain it, the parable of the talents. (Matt 25:14–30)
The story is one with which we are familiar: three men are given talents before their master leaves. Upon his return, each presents what he has done with what he was given. Many interpret these talents as the skills we are given, but what if you substitute talents as a metaphor for grace? Grace is what God gives, we cannot earn it. So how can we increase the graces received? The answer may surprise us, and it is given right in the gospel.
When we are given a gift, our first instinct is to keep it for ourselves; it’s the “mine” thought. We want to hold onto the bright, shiny object and make it last as long as possible. But as one of talent recipients in the parable illustrates, if we keep grace to ourselves, hiding it in the ground, it will not grow. Rather, it will be taken away from us. However, if we share the grace we receive in faith, put it into circulation, we are given more. It seems to defy logic: if we want more we need to give more.
Does that mean you need to evangelize the world? Well, that’s up to the ability God has given you. He didn’t give all three men the same amount of talents. We may cry, “Not fair!” Why does it need to be? However, if we use what God gives us, we will be doing His will and He will entrust us with more. It’s not a race; it’s not a game. There is no prize for the one who has the most. The result will be joy in heaven — with those whom we shared the grace we received and encouraged with our responses to that grace. He gives us only what we can handle. Once we learn how to engage with the gift of grace and share it with others, we may be given more. We may not be required to change the world, but maybe to spark a change that will ignite others that will set the world ablaze.
It’s fascinating that Jesus uses a commerce approach to teach us how to receive His grace. Rather than seeking to gain worldly riches, let us concentrate on giving away the wealth of grace we receive from Him today.