God gives to each person “according to his capacity” (Matthew 25:16, NEB) — capacity being : legal competency or fitness, the potential or suitability for holding, storing, or accommodating, the maximum amount or number that can be contained or accommodated, an individual’s mental or physical ability, or the faculty or potential for treating, experiencing, or appreciating. Essentially, capacity is competency, fitness, mental or physical ability, and potential.
The story Jesus tells which illustrates God’s expectations in relation to our capacity is the parable of the man who calls his servants together before going abroad. “To one he gives 5 bags of gold, to another 2, to another 1.” (Matthew 25:15) He gives each servant a certain amount of gold “according to his capacity.” God’s expectations match each person’s competence, ability, potential.
Much time passes. Eventually the man returns home. He discovers the servant with 5 now has 10; the one with 2 now has 2 more; but the servant with only 1 “hides [the] gold in the ground” because he “is afraid.” (Matthew 25:25) All he has to give to the man is the 1 he is given in the first place. He misunderstands his master; and his fear of him destroys his capacity.
Father, keep us from becoming so afraid of You that we hide the gifts You’ve given us in the metaphorical ground where they are of no benefit to our fellow-man or to You. In Jesus’ Name, amen.