For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property, giving to one five talents, giving to another two, and to another, one. The servant who had received the five talents went at once and traded, making five talents more. The servant who had received the two talents turned his into four. But the one who had received only one talent went and dug in the ground, hiding his master’s money.
At length the master returned to settle accounts, and calling the servants unto himself, learned what each had done with the the talents they had been given. “Master, you delivered to me five talents,” the first servant reports. “Here, I have made five talents more.”
“Master, you entrusted to me two talents,” the second reminds. “Here, I have made two talents more.”
But the third ashamedly confesses, “Master, I knew you to be a hard man, so I was afraid and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.”
“Where are you?” God calls to Man.
“I heard you in the garden and I was afraid because I am naked, so I hid.”
“Who told you that you are naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”
Hands shaking over fig leaves, Man passes the blame.
“The woman YOU put here with me, she gave me the fruit and I ate.”
I emerged out of adolescence feeling like everything I did in life had to somehow be infused with the “power of the Holy Spirit”–or what I incorrectly perceived that power to be. Perhaps it came of a deep love for God, and a true-hearted desire to dwell in his favor; perhaps it came of a Pentecostal Revival Culture combined with an immature understanding of God’s nature. But there it was, an unceasing striving to do, to be. Holiness! Intimacy! Anointing! Accountability! Fig leaves.
We can hide behind anything, and will, because it’s easier to do than to be; easier to please than reveal; easier to appease than risk; easier to avoid than confront; easier to sew some fig leaves than to stand naked, exposed, and ashamed.
It’s easier to fear than be free.
There is always a voice commanding, “don’t let them see.” We know we are not enough, and like the man and his wife hiding from the presence of the Lord when the very God of all gods came walking in the garden, we too tuck away, burying our true souls in the process. We present our fig leaves: religion, vocation, education, culture, gender roles, and hope that the spark of Image inside our soul remains untracked. “I was afraid, and I went and hid what you gave me in the ground.”
Yes, there’s sin. And yes, there’s shame. But when we’re redeemed—? What thrill to throw off everything that hinders, and the sin that so easily entangles, to run the race actually marked out for us, and to just BE who we were created to be!
There’s such risk in living as our true, created selves! There’s such faith required to believe that only then do we best reveal God’s image! What precarious unpredictability, this, this longing to chase down the Wild Goose, to follow down the wild paths of our hearts, seeking not approval from others, nor fearing their scorn! What might we meet? Whom might we become?