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Mornings In The College Chapel by Francis Greenwood Peabody

LIV THE OVERCOMING OF INSIGNIFICANCE

Matthew xxv.24.

The parable of the talents was specially given to teach Christians not to be discouraged because Christ's kingdom was delayed. The one-talent man is its real object, and the lessons of larger endowment are only by the way. The one-talent man is not the bad man, for to him also God gives a trust, but this man is given so little to do that he thinks it not worth while to do anything. He is not the many-gifted five-talent man, or even the average two-talent man, but he is simply the man of no account. The risk of the five-talent man is his conceit; the risk of the two-talent man is his envy; the risk of the one-talent man is his hopelessness. Why should this insignificant bubble on the great stream of life inflate itself with self-importance? Why should it not just drift along with the current and be lost in the first rapids of the stream? Now Christ's first appeal to this sense of insignificance is {134} this, -- that in the sight of God there is no such thing as an insignificant life. Taken by itself, looked at in its own independent personality, many a life is insignificant enough. But when we look at life religiously and recognize that it is a trusted agent of God, then the doctrine of the trust redeems it from insignificance. You have not much, but what you have is essential to the whole. The lighthouse-keeper on his rock sits in his solitude and watches his little flame. Why does he not let it die away as other lights in the distance die when the night comes on? Because it is not his light. He is its keeper, not its owner. The great Power that watches that stormy coast has set him there, and he must be true. The insignificant service becomes full of dignity and importance when it is accepted as a post of honor and trust. So the unimportant life gets its significance not by its own dimensions, but by its place in God's great order, and the most wretched moment of one's life must be when he discovers that he has been trusted by God to do even a little part and has thrown his chance away. The one-talent man thought his trust not worth investing, and behold, the account of it was called for with the rest. He {135} had in his hands a trust from God and had wasted it, and there was nothing left for him but the weeping of regret and the gnashing of teeth of indignant self-reproach.

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