I got my hair cut the other day.  I knew the girl who cut my hair from previous visits to the shop.  She is attending a local community college and is studying creative writing and journalism.

When I sat in the chair, I asked her how her writing was going.  She gave me an update about her upcoming graduation and latest writing endeavors.  Then she asked me about mine.  I told her about my latest book project and about a journal article I just completed.  She followed up with a question about the journal article.

“What’s it about?” she asked.

“Well,” I replied, “You know I’m a pastor.  I wrote an article about faithfulness based on a story Jesus told.  Have you ever heard of the Parable of the Talents?”

“No,” she said.  “I’ve never heard that one before.”

So there I was, in a barber chair, talking to a twenty-five-year-old woman who never in her life heard Jesus’ Parable of the Talents.  I kept talking.

“It’s the story of a businessman who goes away for a long time.  Before he left, he gave three of his employees some of his wealth so they could earn more money for him.  One employee received five pounds of gold.  He put it to work and earned five more.  The second employee received three pounds of gold.  He earned three more.  The third employee buried his gold.”

“Buried it?” she exclaimed.

“Yes, he buried it because he was afraid of the businessman.  He was a tough guy, so the employee decided to protect the treasure, bury it, and return it exactly the way he received it.  When the businessman came back, the first two employees told him about their profit.  He said to them, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’”

“That’s what my article is about,” I told her, “Putting our gifts to work.  That’s what being faithful means.  The employee who buried his resources was called ‘wicked and lazy’ by the businessman.”

“Wow,” my haircutter replied, “I really like that story.”

I said, “My article is letting the church know—”  My haircutter interjected: “That you can’t keep people out!  You have to use what you receive to get people in!”

“Exactly,” I said.

I added, “The treasure in the story was called a ‘talent.’  It’s where we get our word ‘talent’ from.  So, your talents—your writing and haircutting—are meant to bless people, not to keep to yourself.”

She said, “As you were telling the story, I was thinking about how it applies to my life.  I’m going to tell that story to my boyfriend.”

By that time, my haircut was finished.  She did a great job.  We chatted a bit more, then I paid and bid her farewell.

I learned a few things from this experience.  What insights come to your mind as you reflect on the haircut?

By Rev. Michael Newman