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ON ACCOUNTABILITY AND TALENT

Read­ing Time: 2 minutes

Introduction

As I noted in last week reflec­tion, the 25th chapter of the Gos­pel accord­ing to Mat­thew con­tains at least three inter­est­ing and sur­pris­ing epis­odes. Inter­est­ing and sur­pris­ing because they con­cern the events of after­life, and Jesus appears to be speak­ing dif­fer­ently. The first epis­ode is about the wise and fool­ish brides­maids (Matt 25:1–13); the second is the Gos­pel read­ing of this Sunday con­cern­ing our vari­ous tal­ents and how we use them (Matt 25:14–30); and the third epis­ode is the event of the D‑Day, the sep­ar­a­tion of the sheep from the goats (Matt 25:31–46). The story of the tal­ents is a con­tinu­ation of the elab­or­a­tion on the nature of the king­dom of God. With the con­clu­sion of the ten brides­maids to keep awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour of the com­ing of the bride­groom (Matt 25:13), Mat­thew 25:14 indic­ates the begin­ning of a new epis­ode. The story of the tal­ents cla­ri­fies fur­ther the concept of the story of the ten vir­gins. It is about man­aging my tal­ent. And what do we see as tal­ent? As R. Dravid observes, “I think we judge tal­ent wrong. What do we see as tal­ent? I think I have made the same mis­take myself. We judge tal­ent by people’s abil­ity to strike a crick­et ball. The sweet­ness, the tim­ing. That’s the only thing we see as tal­ent. Things like determ­in­a­tion, cour­age, dis­cip­line, tem­pera­ment, these are also tal­ent.” The king­dom of God implies and involves accountability. 

Reflecting on ‘talent’

Con­tinu­ing his teach­ings on the king­dom of God, Jesus told his dis­ciples that God’s king­dom could be com­pared to a man, who “going on a jour­ney, summoned his ser­vants and entrus­ted his prop­erty to them” (Matt 25:14). Gen­er­ally, espe­cially in the Sep­tuagint (LXX) and in the Chris­ti­an (New) Test­a­ment usage, ta hyparch­onta (what one has at one’s dis­pos­al, someone’s prop­erty, pos­ses­sions, what belongs to someone, means, resources) as sub­stant­ive, is used with the pos­sess­ive gen­it­ive. This is the form found in Mat­thew 25:14 for ‘his prop­erty’ (cf. also Matt 19:21; 24:47; Luke 11:21; 12:33). Verse 15 of the same chapter lists how this man dis­trib­uted his prop­erty. Accord­ing to the text, “to one he gave five tal­ents, to anoth­er two, to anoth­er one, to each accord­ing to his abil­ity. Then he went away” (Matt 25:15). The Greek word talan­ton (tal­ent) is a mon­et­ary unit whose value dif­fers con­sid­er­ably from place to place. How­ever, with­in the Chris­ti­an Test­a­ment peri­od, a tal­ent it was a unit of mon­et­ary com­pu­ta­tion and equaled 5,000−6,000 drach­mas or den­arii (sin­gu­lar, den­ari­us). The den­ari­us is the Roman sil­ver coin, the equi­val­ent of 14 cents, and the one-penny of the Chris­ti­an Test­a­ment. The “ten thou­sand tal­ents” men­tioned in Mat­thew 18:24 is a hyper­bole, denot­ing incal­cul­able debt. This was why the king ordered the ser­vant who owed him such amount to be sold, he and his entire house­hold, a plan that was not car­ried out due to the servant’s incess­ant pleadings.….

FOR DETAILS, GET YOUR OWN COPY OF THE BOOKTHE WORD OF LIFE: SUNDAY REFLECTIONS” (vol. I)!! The reflec­tion for the 33rd Sunday is found on pages 533–543. Happy reading!

For details on how to get it, con­tact the author on this link: https://m.me/uchennabiblia?fbclid=IwAR2yeg4a6sDGBp9QGkIvKj6FSADumMokN6lshdE0zuo-JHs6qOmlhA7jyHo or email me at: postmaster@uchennabiblia.com or simply send an SMS on 08116100926, and I will get back to you.

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