For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered to them his goods.…
It is not always an easy thing for men to make up their minds to mediocrity. It is a young man's right, almost his duty, to hope, almost to believe, that he has singular capacity, and is not merely another repetition of the constantly repeated average of men. To see those dreams and visions of youth gradually fade away; little by little to discover that one has no such exceptional capacity; to try one and another of the adventurous ways which lead to the highest heights and the great prizes, and find the feet unequal to them; to come back at last to the great trodden highway, and plodon among the undistinguished millions — that is often very hard. The fight is fought, the defeat is met, in silence; but it is no less, it is more terrible. The hour in which it becomes clear to a young man that that is to be his life, that there is nothing else for him to do except to swell the great average of humanity, is often filled with dangers. Let us see what some of them are.
1. He has to make up his mind to do without both of the different kinds of inspiration which come to the men who are better off and the men who are worse off than he is. The man of five talents excites admiration and expectation; the man of one talent has an incentive to do great things in spite of difficulties; but to the middle man, the man who is neither very much nor very little — the man who has two talents, but only two-both of these forms of impulse are denied. He is neither high enough to hear the calling of the stars, nor low enough to feel the tumult of the earthquake. What wonder, then, if he often falls asleep for sheer lack of sting and spur? What wonder if he does the moderato things that seem to be within his power unenthusiastically, and then stops, making no demand upon himself since other men make no demand upon him?
2. A want of definiteness and distinctness. Genius, lay its very intensity, decrees a special path of fire for its vivid power. Conscious limitation, on the other hand, knows there is no hope for it except in one direction. Both have the strength which comes by narrowness. But the man who knows himself to be only moderately strong is apt to think that his strength has no peculiar mission. The commonplace man is the discursive man. He has neither the impetuosity of the torrent nor the direct gravitation of the single drop of water. He lies a loose and sluggish pool, and flows nowhither, and grows stagnant by and by.
3. The constant danger of being made light of by other men. Becoming uninteresting to others, he loses interest in himself. He attracts no reverence, and he enlists no pity. He finds himself unnoticed. He must originate out of himself all that he comes to. He hangs between the heaven and the earth, and is fed out of neither. What he does seems to be of no consequence, because it wakens no emotion in his brethren. He has no influence on other men, and so there is no effluence, no putting forth of life from him.
(Phillips Brooks, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.