The master obviously knew the capacity of his servants. To the first one he gave five talents, to the second, two and to the third, one. The master knew that the third servant was a high risk.
A good judge of character can tell which person will succeed and which person will fail. Notice that the element that prevented the third servant from being successful was fear. The servant doubted his ability to meet his master’s expectations. He knew that his master had high expectations of everyone. Rather than try, he chose to bury his master’s money. Consider how many folks bury their talents because they are fearful. “I used to sing; I was once a lector; I was in the Altar and Rosary Society.” Missed windows of opportunity to produce—to give back to the master who entrusted us with his gifts. There are countless examples of people who have suppressed their gifts out of fear. Remember that 99% of our fears will never realize. Worrying about stuff only feeds the fear. “If we can do something about it, why worry? If we can’t do something about it, why worry?” A raisin is a worried grape. To sit down and to agonized about possible disasters is a waste of time. However, spreading fear does sell insurance, security systems and guns. Try to buy groceries once a hurricane has been announced. Stores sell out. Not too long ago, toilet paper was worth the price of gold. Fear causes us to act in abnormal ways, unless we are paranoid all the time. Just like the servant in the story who did not think about investing his master’s money. He acted imprudently.
Not much creativity went into his decision to bury the one talent. Anybody could have done that! The master could have kept his own money hidden for safekeeping. When we trust someone with our possessions a level of trust is established. Obviously, the master trusted his servants with his money. We do not know how long the master was gone, just that he was gone for a “long time.” He did not give the servants any instructions, just handed them the talents. The first two put the money to work right away. They knew who they were. They had confidence in their abilities. Most of all, they trusted in their relationship with the master. Although the master had a reputation of being a demanding person, the first two servants were aware of his kindness. Look at what happened. They were rewarded for acting wisely. The paranoid servant lost the little that he had.
Notice that the paranoid servant was called “wicked and lazy by the master. Harsh words! Did he sin? What did he do wrong? To be wicked denotes an intention to do evil. His evil was doing nothing. Like when we excuse our indifference by saying, “I don’t want to get involved. It’s none of my business.” Someone’s house is getting robed, and we do nothing. A person faints on the street and we keep walking. Folks spread gossip and we repeat the lie because it’s juicy. Passive, aggressive behavior can be damaging. The master might have been insulted to hear the servant, who did nothing for him, tell him to his face that he thought him to be an unfair man. “You harvest where you did not plant. You gather where you did not scatter.” “Because I am afraid of you, I buried your money.” Rightfully, the master categorized him as wicked, lazy, let’s just add— “Good for nothing.” We all know that everyone is good for something. Since God does not make mistakes, every person has a purpose. However, the enemy is fear. We are not supposed to hide. We are not supposed to bury ourselves in the security of solitude while we ignore the gifts that the master gave to us. “Use it or loose it.” Whatever we have received we are to use to build the Kingdom.
Given the fact that we have all made mistakes, the master continues to trust us with His gifts. The Lord helps us to trust in His love for us.