“The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.” – Matthew 25:16-18
My wife’s paternal grandfather Durwood Rose once worked in the same office side by side with the late H. L. Hunt, both young men at the time. One morning Hunt walked in and announced to Durwood that he was leaving to go over to East Texas. “Come go with me,” he said. But my wife’s grandfather was busy working on another project so he responded as any responsible person would, “I don’t have time today. I’ve got too much work to do. Maybe tomorrow.” “Oh, I’m not coming back,” Hunt replied, “I’m going there to stay until I strike oil,” then walked out the door. . . The rest as they say is history, as H. L. Hunt did in fact strike oil and become one of the wealthiest oil tycoons in the world. Durwood, though also successful, became so in a much more modest way.
If only my wife’s grandfather had played his cards differently! Then I would have married into one of the richest families in the world, right? Except, of course, if she had been born into such wealth and prominence it’s unlikely our paths would have ever crossed in the first place. Thank goodness old Durwood played his cards the way he did.
Life is not about the hand we’re dealt, but how we play the one we got. I love country singer Kenny Rogers’ description in his famous ballad, “The Gambler”. “Now ev’ry gambler knows that the secret to survivin’ is knowin’ what to throw away and knowin’ what to keep, cause ev’ry hand’s a winner and ev’ry hand’s a loser . . .” So it is in Jesus’ parable about the talents. The servants were each dealt different hands – as happens in real life – any one of which had the potential of being a winner, or a loser. Two, in fact, doubled what they had received – winners. The third chose instead to bury his in the ground – loser. It wasn’t about the hand they were dealt, but how they played the one we got. . . . How are you playing yours?