Volunteering & the Parable of the Talents

Parable of the Talents

As Albertans struggle through a period of high unemployment levels not seen since the early to mid-1990’s, the Parable of the Talents is an important lesson for us to keep in mind. This is especially true for the population of Airdrie, where the annual city census shows that we are predominantly a community of Generation Y young adults.

Research on the characteristics of Gen Y (born in the 1980’s and 1990’s) has revealed an over-inflated sense of entitlement and a lack of a work ethic to achieve their goals.  According to a May, 2010 article published in the Telegraph:

“Members have long complained they have been unfairly characterized as lazy but the new research appears to prove that the stereotype is actually true.

Professor Paul Harvey, of the University of Hampshire, carried out a series of studies measuring psychological entitlement and narcissism on a group of Gen -Yers and found they scored 25 per cent higher than respondents ages 40 to 60 and 50 per cent higher than those over 61.

In addition, Gen-Yers were twice as likely to rank in the top 20 per cent in their level of entitlement — the “highly entitled range” — as someone between 40 and 60, and four times more likely than a pensioner.”

The Parable of the Talents illustrates the need to make use of the talents and gifts we have been given and not be lazy.  The interesting play on words using the dual meaning of “talents” makes the story effective as a parable:

tal·ent
ˈtalənt
noun
1. natural aptitude or skill.
  1. “he possesses more talent than any other player”
    2. a former weight and unit of currency, used especially by the ancient Romans and Greeks. Approximately 75 lbs of gold or silver.

As the Parable of the Talents goes:

“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 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.

After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’ “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’ “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'”

The lesson to be learned by our unemployed and under-employed Gen Y community members is the importance of getting busy in whatever opportunities allow you to use your talents, whether paid or unpaid, and it will pay off in the end.  Volunteering provides the opportunity!  The first step is easy…contact Volunteer Airdrie at info@volunteerairdrie.ca, or call/text us at (403) 993-5034.

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