“I couldn’t do that!” seems to have been a refrain throughout my life. When someone has suggested that I might be good at this or that, or have some particular vocation, my first reaction has often been to protest that I couldn’t possibly do such a thing. I suspect I am not alone. Fear of getting it wrong, of being overwhelmed or of the criticism “who do you think you are?” often prevents us from taking the risk of trying something new. However, when we do take that risk not only do we flourish but others around us benefit too. It’s as if our positive response to a calling awakens in others the desire to respond and to discover their vocation. But what seems even more surprising is that when we forget our fears and our reticence and take the risk of trying something new, we are also helping to grow God’s Kingdom.
Our Parish Vision is summed up in the words: “Offering abundant life: growing God’s Kingdom”. It’s a wonderful picture of a positive community that is not limited or exclusive but seeks to grow in depth and size as individuals take the risk of responding to Christ’s call on their lives.
Last Sunday’s Gospel reading was the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25: 14 – 30). It’s perhaps one of the most controversial parables in the Bible with as many interpretations as the number of talents at the end of the story! A talent was a weight of precious metal and was the equivalent of 20 years’ wages for a household servant at the time. Two slaves trade with the talents entrusted to them by their rich master and give him double his income when he returns from his journey. The third slave is frightened of his master. He takes the safe option and buries the talent until his master returns and then exposes his master’s business practices. We might feel sympathy for that third slave, particularly when he is condemned to outer darkness for not investing his master’s wealth.
Jesus wanted to expose the religious authorities for burying under human regulations the treasure at the heart of their God-given law. When we take the safe option and say “I couldn’t do that!” are we burying the riches that God has entrusted to us? Let’s take the risk of allowing God’s kingdom to grow through us so that we and others may discover the abundant life that Christ offers us.