The parable of talents

In the parable of the talents, Jesus seems to imply that what we do here on earth with the talents God gives us will save us.

However, what if a Catholic has done a horrible job with their talents but happens to die with baptism and free from mortal sin?

Hi
I think in Matthew 25 the ‘talent’ is not so much like a special ability of a person but the ‘talent’ is from Greek ‘talanta’ is a unit of currency. A certain talent/talanta weight of usually gold or silver. I guess in a way you could extend the idea from a talent weight of gold to a special ability in Mt 25…but IMO Mt 25’s talent is talking about moola…money, with the parable working from that earthly idea.

Such a Catholic, dying in a state of grace, would still go to heaven but he would be among the least in the Kingdom of Heaven.

But since the sin of omission is still a sin, how can one waste all their talents and still be free of mortal sin?

I’m not sure if the premise is entire plausible.

One note: A talent was an ENORMOUS sum of money. The 10 talents represent more more than all that was in Israel at the time (if I’m correct). Its indicative of the great gifts that Christ bestows on us in Baptism!

The idea that God will punish you for not developing your talents is simply ridiculous. This is not officially taught be the Roman Catholic Church at all. It is an absurd opinion. Nobody should worry themselves about it at all.

We must be extremely careful when interpreting parables. It is very easy to get the wrong idea. Especially with the Parable of the Talents. I cannot count how many times I have seen this particular parable abused.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with keeping your talents to yourself. No sin in this at all. If I want to write awesome novels and just throw them in a drawer where NOBODY ever sees them, that’s my business. Nobody else’s. Certainly not the Church’s. And that is exactly how the Church sees it, as well.

I spoke to a brilliant philosopher/theologian Catholic priest I met a few years ago about this. He said unequivocally that talents count for very little. Recall the New Testament passage where it is written that God could make the stones themselves sing, if He so wished. Talent means little or nothing to God. Nobody should stress about “using their talents for the sake of others.” The Parable of the Talents was never meant to be interpreted as a threat, and the Catholic Church does not view it this way.

If you wish to use your talents for others, then fine. But there is no obligation to do so. Claiming that there is would be flatly wrong.

As an inventor and a writer, I keep almost EVERYTHING I create to myself. I show people nothing of my talents at all. I use them only for my own enjoyment. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I’m simply not interested in violating my solitary life just for “the sake of others.” I find the idea quite offensive and dictatorial. And there is absolutely nothing in Catholic theology requiring me to do otherwise.

I dislike it very much when people harp on the idea of “using our talents for others,” as if it is some kind of rigid obligation. This amounts up to little more than a guilt trip. It is extraordinarily bad theology. It is just plain wrong. Such talk will only end up scaring people for absolutely nothing.

There is some scholarly disagreement about the exact size of a talent. Although a talent could measure anything, when used without qualification it was understood to refer to silver as a unit of currency, worth about 6,000 denarii. Since a denarius was the usual payment for a day’s work, a talent was roughly the value of twenty years of work. Hence ten talents = 200 years’ worth of wages!

In his version of the parable for the record, Luke (19:12-27) uses mina rather than talents (1 talent=60 mina).

Basically He wants the three to go and serve God. He wants them to spread the Word.

If God asks three men to go and do something and two do but the third doesn’t he will be in trouble but if the third tried and failed he would not which is why he says about giving it to the bank.

If we try but fail God will be happy.
If He knows we could do a good job but do nothing for Him then what do you expect from Him in return.

can anyone verify the monetary value as this gives a very different slant to things :smiley:

I don’t think Jesus is talking of our talent to write or to sing. I believe Jesus is speaking of the talent to teach others, or to be able to solve problems that will help others.

For instance, say that I have invented a device that can suck water out of the air and provide enough clean water for 200-300 people. Wouldn’t this device be invaluable to many of the drought-stricken areas of Africa and Asia?

Now, how would our Lord look on me if I kept this invention to my self simply to do parlor tricks at home?

You wrote: “I don’t think Jesus is talking of our talent to write or to sing. I believe Jesus is speaking of the talent to teach others, or to be able to solve problems that will help others.”

He was talking about all talents. And no talent is inferior to any other. Absolutely no one can classify one talent as somehow being more valuable and more “worthy” than some other talent. Such a thing is relativistic, and absurd.

You said: “For instance, say that I have invented a device that can suck water out of the air and provide enough clean water for 200-300 people. Wouldn’t this device be invaluable to many of the drought-stricken areas of Africa and Asia? Now, how would our Lord look on me if I kept this invention to my self simply to do parlor tricks at home?”

There is absolutely nothing in official Catholic teaching, Vatican documentation, Canon Law, the Catechism, or any papal publication or encyclical that ANYWHERE requires Catholics to turn over what they invent to the rest of the world, on pain of mortal sin. Such a belief is a bizarre and hurtful opinion only. No Catholic anywhere is obliged to believe it at all. I’m not trying to be insulting. I just feel very strongly about this.

And I must say I resent very much the implication that those who keep their inventions to themselves do so merely to do “parlor tricks” at home. This is a very unpleasant thing to say. It amounts up to little more than a guilt trip, designed to make me and others feel bad about what we do with the results of our creativity. Are you seriously suggesting that I am in danger of going to Hell if I don’t turn my inventions over “for the sake of others?” I think you are certainly suggesting it.

I suspect that most people who think this way are non-creative people. They do not understand the creative mentality at all. Never in my life do I sit down to invent something out of some kind of imaginary “obligation” or “duty” to others. Such a thing is repulsive to me. I think it is repulsive to any genuinely creative person. Truly imaginative, creative people do not enjoy working out of duty or “obligation.” It is repulsive to the very nature of creativity.

Horror writer Stephen King once wrote that “I can write in cold blood (forced writing) if I have to. But it’s not any fun. The stories don’t shine. It is only when I am enjoying the story for the sake of the story that the writing of it truly takes off. If it is done because someone is forcing you to do it, say, for a deadline, it’s no fun at all. That is death for any writer, and, I would say, for any creative person. No joy in the process. But if no one is forcing you to do it, then it’s not work anymore. It’s fun. And if something is fun, you can do it forever.”

This is exactly how I approach ALL my creativity, not just my writing. If it is fun, I can do it forever. And the idea of creating something while having some kind of “obligation” hanging over my head to turn it over to others, or else face damnation in Hell, – is absolutely disgusting. It is not official Church teaching. If I have to worry about Hell, I just won’t invent anything. Problem solved. I’ll shut right down. Why bother taking the risk. You can see why the Church does not officially teach this position in any way, shape or form.

I invent for the pure fun of inventing. I create for the pure sake of creating. I never think of others at all. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I sit alone in my house every day, going deeper and deeper into creativity. I hardly ever go anywhere or see anyone, and this gives me the greatest pleasure. I am one of the happiest people you will ever encounter.

Such a position may strike some people as odd, but it shouldn’t. Psychological studies have shown that persons of higher intelligence have far less problem spending time alone than those with less active thinking. There are things that can be learned and achieved in solitude that could never be accomplished when associating with other people. And some of my achievements are profound indeed.

I don’t care if my discoveries have any use or value. I really could care less. That’s not why I make them. It’s not even a thought in my head. I do it for the fun only. And there is not one single thing in all official Catholic teaching that says I obligated to do otherwise.

If God wants me to turn my discoveries over to other people, He will make it absolutely unmistakable. But apart from this I never think of such things at all.

People writing about how we should use our talents should pause and reflect. Putting pressure on others to turn their creations over to the world just to avoid Hell is an evil position. It should be the task of Catholics to DECREASE needless fear in others, not add to it. This is a good way to produce scrupulosity in others, a very unhealthy conscience. Such a thing can wreck a Catholic. I cannot describe how upset I feel when I see other people talking in this way.

As we’ve mentioned, one silver talent would equal about 6,000 denarii, roughly the value of twenty years of work (under the system of one denarius per day). We don’t know what the exact weight is, but it is thought that a single silver talent weighed somewhere between 58 and 80 pounds (about 26-36 kg). A talent could thus be worth anywhere from 1000 to 30,000 dollars.

So if we’re going to apply the parable to a modern-day setting, I think it would be perhaps like the master handing out a suitcase full of banknotes to one guy, a half-full suitcase to the other, and a wad of bills to the third.

The meaning of the word talents in this passage refers to a specific amount of money in that culture, as in the sense of money being entrusted to someone with a fiduciary duty to not only preserve the principal but invest it for growth. It does not refer to the word we use in English today to mean personal aptitudes or proficiencies. That wealth or treasure so entrusted as in all the kingdom parables that speak of treasure–the pearl of great price for instance–refers to the treasure of the gift of salvation we have been given, of which we become sharers in our baptism, and which we are supposed to invest through good works and evangelization to help do our part to bring about the growth of the Kingdom.

puzzleannie
That wealth or treasure so entrusted as in all the kingdom parables that speak of treasure–the pearl of great price for instance–refers to the treasure of the gift of salvation we have been given, of which we become sharers in our baptism, and which we are supposed to invest through good works and evangelization to help do our part to bring about the growth of the Kingdom.

Spot on.

For those who misuse this parable to condemn free enterprise, Jesus lauds the servant who has multiplied talents – “For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Mt 25: 14-30). Christ certainly praised the wise use of the fundamental right of economic initiative (Blessed John Paul II), and prudence, in this parable.

No, this isn’t right. This is completely incorrect.

The Catholic Church absolutely teaches about developing and using our talents for the good of other and the glory of God. Reference articles 1880, 1936-1937, and 2429 in the Catechism.

You may disagree with what it says or thing it says something that it does not but to say that there is abosolutely no teaching on the issue is completely incorrect. The Church has plenty to say on the issue.

-Tim-

I’m interested in how you are equating your creative writings with an invention that could save people from dying of thirst.

Let me ask you, are you assuming that I meant one should give away those inventions that could benefit mankind? I didn’t mean that.

But, I wouldn’t want to face the Good Lord in heaven trying to explain why I might have invented something that could save many lives and simply kept it to myself. I feel equally as strong about that as you evidently do against it.

From this paragraph, I gather that “creative” people are very judgmental. Don’t try that. It only makes you look bad.

I’m beginning to lose what you are saying, or I suspect, you previously lost what I was saying.

I had to cut the rest of this to save the 5000 character limit, but I think its simply more of the same.

Congratulations. You have succeeded in giving me scrupulosity. I am going to sit alone and worry about all this now. Instead of inventing, I’m going to worry . What did you think was going to happen?

You blasted stupid people.

:grouphug:

Look.

Jesus asks three men to do something, two do it but the third doesn’t. Two men are rewarded and the third is cast out.

No extra details, just that.

:cool:

Joseph Kemp
As an inventor and a writer, I keep almost EVERYTHING I create to myself. I show people nothing of my talents at all. I use them only for my own enjoyment. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I’m simply not interested in violating my solitary life just for “the sake of others.” I find the idea quite offensive and dictatorial. And there is absolutely nothing in Catholic theology requiring me to do otherwise. I am one of the happiest people you will ever encounter.
You have succeeded in giving me scrupulosity. I am going to sit alone and worry about all this now
You blasted stupid people

aball1035
As you may now see, the self-centered individual who cares for no one else is not the person who lives Christ’s teaching – that love is the fullness of the Law. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mt 22:37-40).

The parable of the Talents “primarily teaches that God’s gifts, of nature and especially of grace, are held in stewardship and must not be allowed to lie idle. They are to be used to further His kingdom. It emerges, secondarily, that the standard of God’s judgment is relative to the opportunities offered: ‘the greater the gifts, the greater the account demanded’ (Gregory the Great).” A Catholic Commentary On Holy Scripture, ed. Dom Bernard Orchard, Thomas Nelson, 1953].

And you’ve given me something to do. Now I’ve got to look up scrupulosity in the dictionary. We gave it to you? I didn’t know it was contagious! :wink:

Relax, Joseph. Even stupid people can learn to love creative geniuses… whether they deserve it or not!

The talents refer to grace-works of love that God gives us to do. The more we step out and respond to His promptings, receiving and acting on that grace, i.e.* investing* it, in whatever way He desires, the more return there is to us. If we bury the light He’s given, he’ll reject us.

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