The Gospel readings these past few days have warned of rather dire consequences for those who don’t live the Gospel message. This section of Matthew’s Gospel spells out the urgency of the call to discipleship and the nearness of the Kingdom of God. Yesterday, the foolish virgins were left out of the kingdom, with their Lord telling them he did not know them. Today, those who would bury the talent get cast out of the kingdom, to wail and grind their teeth. These consequences aren’t imaginary inconveniences. Think of the pain and anguish that would cause one to wail and grind their teeth; imagine the heartbreak of our Lord telling us that he does not know us.
When some people have been encouraged to take on a new ministry or share their gifts in some way, very often they will say, “Oh, I could never do that.” Today Jesus says that kind of thinking isn’t kingdom thinking. What today’s reading tells us is that there is no such thing as a “little gift.” We are all called and gifted in some unique way, and we must praise God with that gift no matter what the gift is and no matter how insignificant it may seem. We aren’t just encouraged to use our gifts when it would be nice, but warned that our gifts are essential to the kingdom, and that those who don’t use them aren’t part of that kingdom.
So whether we have a gift that looks like ten talents, or five, or even one, the call is still the same. No matter how awesome the giver may be, fear of failure can never be an excuse to bury our talent in a hole in the ground. Every single talent must be reinvested in the kingdom, so that we can come together and bring forth a harvest of justice and peace and life and beauty. Because, who wants to spend their eternity wailing and grinding their teeth?