Do you ever think of yourself as beautiful, lovable, and capable? Just asking… curious. I have a theory that most people forget that truth about themselves. I do, anyway.
Here is my re-telling of the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30):
God gave to three children the knowledge that they were extremely beautiful, lovable and capable. This gift of spiritual wisdom was permanent and indestructible, like gold. One of them had a strong ability to see themselves as God saw them, another could accept it periodically, and the child who usually felt unlovable would only catch glimpses of God’s love in special moments. This gift had a purpose for expression in their lives, and yet exactly how that would play out, or how much time would be available for them, was uncertain.
As they grew up, the children who had accepted the greater amounts of God’s love became aware that their time on earth was limited and decided to act without a great deal of caution. They immersed themselves, surrounded themselves with community. This is how they invested their time and energy: in relationships. They risked their hearts in vulnerable honesty with other people. As a result they gained the security, trust and freedom to love and act with deep empathy and forgiveness for themselves and others.
They gained a fearlessness that was so fierce that they no longer feared death, an authentic honesty that revealed their vision about who they were and their purpose in the world, a presence in the moment that was child-like, a balance that respected their needs for self-care in the dance of service to their companions, a humble surrender to the people and situations in their lives as the external reflections of their internal process, a curiosity and wonder that connected them with the source of their adventure here, a self-observing detachment and laughter about the outcomes of their struggles, and a patient emotional sobriety — an inner peace — that radiated as resilience and practical optimism everywhere they went.
They were grateful to God for their lives and had no complaints when their time came to return to God. This was their return on their investment.
The child who had felt unlovable became fearful and distrustful. They did not risk, or invest, or share God’s love for them in their relationships. Instead, they distracted themselves with external, material things. They focused on not making mistakes, being very logical, rational and obsessed with petty rules. Eventually they became paralyzed by the lack of love in their life, were paranoid about threats to their wellbeing, and became engaged in endless conflict, some of which was extremely self-destructive, violent and ugly.
This person was angry at God and wished they had never been born.
In the Bible, Matthew ends the story with this person weeping and gnashing their teeth, and I believe there is more to this story that somehow was omitted. It is never too late for God’s love to win, and I speak from my own experience. I am that third child. God was patient, persistent and passionate with me. He/She/It kept planting the seeds of His/Her/Its love in my heart no matter how angry I became. Thirty years ago one of those seeds broke through the concrete wall around my heart, and began to grow. Now, this is my song to God:
(sung to tune of Rita Coolidge’s “Higher and Higher”)
Your love is lifting me higher than I’ve ever been lifted before
So keep it up, quench my desire, and I’ll be at your side forevermore