When Burt and Anton’s once famous magic show begins to fade the two magicians argue and split. Burt is left alone trying to make it as a single performer. However times are changing and the kind of magic he offers seems tired and past its sell-by date. So he visits his agent to check on his financial situation. It’s not good.
Jesus once told a story about three men and what they did with the talents they had. Two invested well and came away rewarded. The third did not invest well, in fact not at all, he just buried his gifts and came up with nothing. Burt has not invested well. And now he’s paying the price. He did not invest well in his show with Anton either, he had become pompous and self-centered, confident that he was the ‘big thing’ that would continue being successful forever. Now comes the wake-up call. He moves from being a massive celebrity with his own glitzy show to entertaining folks in a care home for ageing performers and doing magic at a children’s party.
But these experiences wake him up. He learns the value of being faithful in the small things. In Jesus’ story the first two men are congratulated on being faithful with a little. Both have taken small gifts and used them. As a result they are given more. It’s the story for most of us. We have been given various gifts and talents and, in an age which applauds fame and celebrity, we are asked by Jesus to make good use of what we have. He is not so concerned by massive success, but rather genuine faithfulness. Mother Theresa once said, ‘God does not require that we be successful, only that we be faithful.’
I think part of the problem is that we like success and when it brings adulation it’s easy to be sucked in. Then we take our eye of the ball and …. Then when we realise the problem we don’t want to change because it’s all going well until of course the music stops and the change is forced upon us.