Some of us have heard of the parable of the talents as told by Jesus. There are so many interpretations of the meaning of the parable. I think that it is about what we choose for our life work.
The Parable of the Talents
The Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30)
This the parable of the talents narrated by Jesus:
14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants[a] and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents,[b] to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money.
19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.[c] You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’
22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’
24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed?
27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
Lee Kuan Yew: The Meaning of Life
Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, Guest of Honor at Shell’s 120th anniversary celebrations in 2011. He was asked about the meaning of life at 5:52 minutes portion of this video.
He said “Life is what you make of it. You are dealt a pack of cards, your DNA is fixed by your mother and your father; you maybe siblings but get different parts and parcels of the DNA. Your job is make the best of the cards that had been handed out to you – what can you do well; what you cannot do well and what you are worst at. When you ask me to make my living as a artist, I will starve because I just can’t draw. It wasn’t in my father or my mother or my great grandfather and great grandmother’s (genes). But if you asked me to do an analytical question, or to argue a point out, I get by. That was the cards that I was handed out and I make use of them. Don’t try to do something that you were not favored by nature to do.”
Clay Christensen: How Will You Measure Your Life?
Clayton Christensen is Harvard Business School professor and world-renowned innovation guru. He is interested to find out what causes successful companies to lose their growth and ultimately failed. He was taking about his revelation on how his life work would be measure at 16.45 minutes portion of this video.
He said “How do you measure the success of your life? The reason I mention is because we have to aggregate, we have a sense of hierarchy, wealth and so on. The reason that I concluded that God does not employ accountants is that He has an infinite mind.
What that means is that He does not need to aggregate up the level of individual people, in order to have a perfect understanding of what is going on in this world.
When I realized that He doesn’t have to aggregate above the level of individual people, then I realized my goodness, when I have my interview with God at the end of my life, He is not going to ask to show Him how high I went in anybody’s org chart or how much money I left behind in the bank when I died but rather he is going to say ‘Oh, Clay, I put you in those circumstance, can we talk about the individual people whose lives you helped to become better people because you work with them or they were members of your family or you just met them and they needed your help.
Then Clay, then I stuck you in this position, let’s talk about the individual people whose lives you blessed because you used the talents that I gave you to help them. And I realized that that is the way that God will measure my life is the individual people whose life I blessed.”
The Dalai Lama said “To be born at all is a miracle. What are you going to do with it?”
Steve Jobs: Story about Death (Making Full Use of Your Time)
This is the video of Steve Jobs’s 2005 Commencement Address. In the 9 th minute of the video, this is what he said:
“My story is about death When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
Charles Handy: My Father
Charles Handy described the death of his father:
“When I was in my mid-forties, my father died. His death stopped me in my tracks and changed my life. Before he died, I was a hot-shot professor at the London Business School – teaching ambitious young men and women, publishing well-received articles, writing best-selling business books, jetting around the world, lecturing at major universities, consulting for big-name companies.
I was on the edge of the big time. And, I have to admit, I was pretty pleased with myself.
“My father, on the other hand, had been a quiet and modest man. He had lived most of his life in the Irish countryside, where he’d been the minister of a small church. Secretly I had always been disappointed by his lack of ambition. It was difficult for me to understand his reluctance to move on or up in life.
“When he died, I rushed back to Ireland for the funeral. Held in the little church where he had spent most of his life, it was supposed to be a quiet family affair. But it turned out to be neither quiet nor restricted to the family. I was astounded by the hundreds of people who came, on such short notice, from all corners of the British Isles. Almost every single person there came up to me and told me how much my father had meant to them and how deeply he had touched their lives.
“That day, I stood by his grave and wondered, Who would come to my funeral? How many lives have I touched? Who knows me as well as all of these people who knew this quiet man?
“When I returned to London, I was a deeply changed man. Later that year, I resigned my tenured professorship. More important, I dropped my pretense of being someone other than who I was. I stopped trying to be a hot shot. I decided to do what I could to make a genuine difference in other people’s lives. Whether I have succeeded, only my own funeral will tell. “I only wish that I could have told my father that he was my greatest teacher.”