If you bring forth what is within you, what you have within you will save you. If you do not have that within you, what you do not have within you will kill you.
The Gospel of Thomas: Logion 70
The beginning the new year is an opportune time to ask yourself the questions: What is the hidden treasure within me that longs to come into being? And Why do I keep ignoring it at best and at worst keep stifling it?
The somewhat enigmatic and frightening statement above comes from the non-canonical Gospel of Thomas that was discovered with the Nag Hammadi documents in 1945. Unlike the canonical gospels, the Gospel of Thomas is a collection of the sayings of Jesus. The theologian Cynthia Bourgeault says that this gospel was early and that “it preserves some of the oldest authentically attested teachings of Jesus.” She makes the point that logion 70 is very similar to the parable of the talents found in the synoptic gospels. As you will remember, in this parable the Master goes on a journey but before leaving gives a various number of talents to three of his servants –“to each according to his ability.” The first two servants traded with and/or invested the talents and so when the Master returned they were able to return the talents with interest, that is, they gave back more than they were given. But the third servant “went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his Master’s money.” The Master’s response to the cowardly servant is harsh. He casts him into the “outer darkness” but not before taking the one talent from him and telling him “For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance, but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.” (Matthew 25:14-30)
Bourgeault says this parable is among the “hard teachings” of Jesus. We do not like it because it seems unfair to the servant who buried the coin. After all, we reason, the servant did not spend the talent; he merely kept it safe so he could return it to the Master. But this reasoning is specious because it is based on a case of mistaken identity. In this case we are mistaking our egos for our True Self—our small minds for our Big Mind and Big Heart. The ego plays it safe by burying the essence of who we are in a hole, but transformation is not about being safe; it is about risking all to become who we are. Commenting on Logion 70 Bourgeault writes, “Whatever this spark of consciousness or name of God that lies at the heart of our being, our role in the human plane is to bring it into form and fullness.”
If we allow ourselves to sit with these two “hard teachings” we will find the good news within them. And that good news is that you are indeed made in the image of God; your true essence is Big Mind and Big Heart. Within you there is an infinite capacity for goodness, loving kindness, and compassionate action.
Now at the beginning of this new year is a good time to wonder why you may have chosen to bury this greatness. It is a question I ask myself. I know I have not intentionally chosen to deny my essence. Like most of us I work hard and try to do right by others. But when I get quiet I can hear the still small voice asking me, “Is this perhaps just another way of being safe?” Each of us has been given gifts that the world is depending on us to bring forth. We have all that we need to join in the continuing creation of the universe. We need only say “Yes” to our essence and “more will be given and (we) will have an abundance.”