Saturday, August 04, 2012

Making that talent grow... the good struggle continues.

I always struggled with Jesus' story of the talents (Matt 25:14-30). The one where the owner of the talents go away and give the 3 workers talents to work with. My struggle is with the unfairness of the situation. Some get 5, others 3 and a last ou, gets 1. Here, so it seems, Jesus endorses the idea that God discriminates-God gives more to some, and less to others-so suck it up.  

Of course, one have to ask what's the point of the Matthew author, writing up this story and placing the story here. That's an important consideration, if we want understand the story (or at least Matthew's interpretation).

I do however want to say something about inequality. It seems to me that Jesus is, in fact saying that, we are born are different capabilities and that some people do grow up with more opportunties than others. The reasons for this state affairs is important, but I will not dwell on that now. What is important though is the fact that we will account for what we've recieved and more so, we are not to account for what we've not recieved. Put differently: work with what you have and make the most of it.

There's another comment to make. The owner of the talents came back and expected some increase on the investment. The guy who looked after his talent carefully and who were able to present it to the owner, was lashed for being 'lazy and unfaithful'. Yes, whilst we've recieved some talents, from the starting point, that is certainly not to be our destinty-our destiny is to make the most of what we have, to raise the bar everytime and break the molds, creating new ones.

Tim Goodenough in his most recent book, Raising Talent, makes the distinction between a mindset that is stuck with 'what we've recieved', i.e. a 'Fixed Mindset'  and what he calls a 'Growth Mindset', i.e. a mindset 'characterised by the belief that no ability, skill or aptitude is ever fixed in stone-it can all be developed, grown and fine-tuned...' (p.14).

So, here's the possibility of a new struggle: the struggle to raise, grow the talent... so that when judgement day comes, it will be a podium finish. I guess, now we can say, the good struggle continues...

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