The Parable of the Talents, or the Minas, or the Pounds, appears twice in the Gospels: in Luke 19 and Matthew 25. It has received its fair share of interpretations over the centuries, the common thread being that the master is Christ, his journey away and his return are is ascension and second coming, and the servants are us. The talents have been interpreted as our personal gifts, or our share of God’s love and mercy, and some have even interpreted it as the Word of God.
A friend of mine once shared with me his own thoughts of what the talents could be. He agreed with the above interpretations, but among them he included something interesting: our suffering and our shame. When we fail catastrophically, or when our plans fall irreparably apart, we are inclined to treat those memories and experiences like the last servant of the parable. We want to bury them out of fear that God and others will see them and think less of us. But as Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Like the servants whom the master praises, we should have faith that God can redeem our lowest moments. When we refuse to let these important episodes of our lives go to waste, instead investing them for his kingdom, we are rewarded many times over with greater nearness to the Lord.