In the parable of the talents, Jesus warns us not to close ourselves off from coming to know Him through faith, and not to be slothful in using all the things that God is continuing giving us.” – Fr. Tadeusz Dajczer
If you’re not familiar with the Parable of the Talents, then before proceeding have a read of Matthew 25:14-30. Throughout this post, I am going to intersperse my own rather simple thoughts, with some profound quotes from Fr. Tadeusz Dajczer’s book The Gift of Faith.
So what, you may ask, is the connection between The Little Drummer Boy and the Parable of the Talents? – Well, thank you for asking!, I’m happy to expound! First, for those who are not familiar with the Christmas carol, The Little Drummer Boy, here are the lyrics, minus most of the ‘pa rum pum pum pums’:
Come they told me
A new born king to see.
Our finest gifts we bring,
To lay before the king,
So to honor him
When we come.
I am a poor boy too.
I have no gift to bring,
That’s fit to give our king.
Shall I play for you?
The ox and lamb kept time.
I played my drum for him,
I played my best for him.
Then he smiled at me,
Pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum.
A talent is a gift and a particular raw material, and at the same time an opportunity. Christ, in giving you a talent, trusts you and waits for you to take proper advantage of it. If He has given you certain abilities, He is not indifferent about what you do with them. However, if you have not received these abilities, this is also a talent. A talent is not only receiving something, but it is also lacking something.”
We all have talents that the Lord has entrusted to us. So what was the Little Drummer Boy’s talent? Was his talent to play the drum? Surely. But what was his more precious talent? Could it be that he was “a poor boy too”? The Lord entrusted him with this poverty, this talent, this opportunity, this ‘lack’. And he responded beautifully. Had he buried this treasure, The Little Drummer Boy would never have approached the Baby (because he had not gift to bring). Had he buried his treasure, he would have been to be defeated by his poverty. Instead, this courageous chap traded with his talent and dared to approach that Savior, albeit without any costly gift.
As we mentioned earlier, the Little Drummer Boy did have another talent: he had a drum. With humility, he ‘traded’ with this talent too. He used his talent, quite literally, to give glory to God, God Incarnate, Baby Jesus! And, he played his best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum. Then, oh wonder of wonder, that beautiful little Baby, that Poor Boy, that King, smiled at him. Had He been able to speak, perhaps Jesus would have repeated the words from the parable: “Well done good and faithful servant…”
But what if that Drummer Boy’s “best” was actually quite bad? What if his drumming was cacophony? Would he have squandered his talent? No…he would have simply been given another talent by the Lord…that of failure.
There are two kinds of talents: those that are less precious and those that are more precious. If you are successful, if something comes out right for you, this is certainly a talent. However, if nothing turns out right, this is a more precious talent. Failures are the priceless treasures given to you in your life.”
Seeing life through the lens of faith, where even failures are priceless treasures, ought to free us to live with gusto – all for Christ! To trade with our talents, to invest them, to know that someday we will render an account for them, we must “Be Not Afraid!” All things…TRULY…work to the good for those who love Him!
If certain situations make you feel tense, it means that your talent is hidden within them, as if a diamond were buried beneath the ashes. What do you do with it? How do you make use of it? Everything is meant to serve toward your sanctification. In this sense, everything is grace. Suffering that overwhelms you, or other unfavorable circumstances, are a whole mass of talents.”
To trade with our talents for love of Him, to receive EVERYTHING as gift from the Father for our sanctification, to be all for Him, to do all for Him…and to have that Baby smile at us…Pa Rum Pum Pum Pum…is this not our desire? This Christmas, let us ask for the grace to never bury our talents again! And let’s play our drum for Him and Him alone! Pa rum pum pum pum..