Yesterday, a Facebook meme and a childhood memory converged for me.
When I was a little girl, I won a prize in Sunday School. It was a little book, a retelling of the “parable of the talents” for children. This is the first Bible story I can remember having a big impact on my life (and it still does).
If you’re unfamiliar with this story (or have forgotten), it goes something like this: A wealthy master was about to go on a journey, so he called his three servants to him for instructions. To the first servant, he gave five “talents,” and told him to be a good steward of what he was given. To the second servant, he gave two “talents,” and told him to be a good steward of what he was given. The third servant received one “talent,” and the same message.
When the master returned, he asked each servant to come and account for how they had used their “talents.” Look at the picture on the book cover to imagine the scene: The first and second servants had multiplied their “talents,” and the master was pleased. But the third servant had hidden his “talent” because he was afraid. He had nothing to show for himself, and was banished.
I’ve been thinking of this story in the wake of our current social unrest, as I hear people saying “I want to help, but I don’t know what to do.” Some are unsure whether they should go to a march, or give money, or talk to others about racial issues. Others just feel stymied, as the problem seems too big to solve.
Then I saw this on Facebook:
… and I was reminded that we can each make a difference with the talents we have.
I’ve been sewing face masks for the local hospital. On the hospital’s Facebook page, an individual posted something along the lines of “Hospitals need ventilators, and more staff, and medicines, not home-sewn masks.” I replied, “It’s what I can do.”
I can sew. That’s the “talent” I can contribute to the COVID crisis. I teach about communication across cultural difference. That’s the “talent” I can contribute to the social crisis. I can do other things too, but these are specific talents that I can use to try to make the world better right now.
Do what you can, with what you have, as you join the throng of travelers on this journey. Everyone is needed.