Yesterday, the Preacher at my church gave the congregation a challenge, based on the day’s Gospel (Matthew 25:14-30), the parable of the talents. Whether the parable is really about something of monetary value or ability, the story is provoking at many levels. She held up a bag of dollar coins and offered two each to everyone to take and do with as they saw fit, but to give a reckoning in a few weeks of what happened. The sight of two plates circulating among the congregation, one into which people could put money, the other from which people could take money was really odd.
Viral infections are going around, and our household has not been spared. Though I had been coughing and wheezing for a few days and nights, I had raised myself and gone to church. My little daughter was too congested to go, so she did not have the chance to take two dollars, so I took them for her. When I got home, I explained the story to her and also that she had the money to use. We discussed over Sunday lunch some ideas that I had, but I have left her to figure out for herself something to do with her ‘talents’. She’s taken the money and put it back in its place several times over the past 24 hours, so I am intrigued what she will do, eventually.
Since the challenge was issued, I’ve been thinking of what to do, and ideas come along each hour. I could think about how to use two dollars to do good for someone else: give them to someone for bus fare; offer them to someone who appeared to be hungry; put them into an account and add the same amount each day for several weeks, then decide what to do with the total. The notion of spreading the idea–suggesting to each friend I meet that he or she take two dollars of their own money and find a good use for them– also ran through my head. Many more ideas floated into my head as I walked in the woods yesterday and today, and I am not settled yet on what to do.
Of course, the idea of using or building on talents in the form of abilities can also sit alongside the idea of using the talents in the form of money. How about freely offering someone two hours of time for them to do with as they please–only for legal activities, though :-)?
There are many ways to make a little go a long way.