If you’re one to keep up with trends in technology, you ought to know by now that the world’s favorite virtual personal assistant is not going away anytime soon. That’s right. It looks like Siri is here to stay. I’m sure she’s accompanied many of you here this morning, in fact, cozying up in your jacket pocket somewhere. She’s had some continuing education, or “upgrades,” in tech speak, since her debut on the iPhone a awhile back and now she can pretty much do what she claimed to be able to do back then. Of course, as we all know, she now likes to occasionally interject, unbidden, and interrupt conversations now and again.

In a New York Times article, a columnist comments on his growing relationship with Siri. Searching out the boundaries of her sassy side, this columnist jokingly inquired, “Where can I hide the dead bodies?” and Siri generated a list of nearby metal foundries, dumps, and swamps. But some, it seems, are taking this relationship to the next level. According to this columnist’s research, one of the most common questions people ask Siri is, well, the big one: “Will you marry me?” Her responses to this question are always rejections and mostly of the cheeky sort. Things like, “Sorry, but marriage is not part of my end user license agreement.” Indeed, Siri may be one of the most sought after mates of the modern age. Now we’ve moved from cool to kind of creepy. And movies like “Her,” which imagines what it might look like for a man to fall in love with his virtual assistant have done a good job upping the creep factor.

The article goes on to point out something fascinating about human behavior. A researcher describes experiments he conducted in which MRI machines find a flurry of brain activity, “which is associated with feelings of love and compassion,” when subjects hear their iPhones ring. The researcher suggests that Siri is likely to deepen that bond. “We as human beings are incredibly good at trying to find human dimensions in anything in order to create a bond with it,” he said. “People try to find human relationships in every pattern that we see.”

So you might say, iPhones and sassy artificial intelligence aside, at a very fundamental level, humans are built to bond, to interact, to engage, to invest. Whether it’s with work, with pets, or with one another, we have been created to make something meaningful of the things and people that surround us. And in so doing we are nourished.

Consider today’s passage from Matthew. A man going on a journey asks three of his trusted servants to manage his money in his absence. To one he gives five talents, to another he gives two talents, and to the third he gives one. As the master’s instructions were not specific, each servant had to decide what to do with the money. The servant with five talents invests the money and doubles it. The servant with two talents does the same. The servant with one talent, fearful of losing the money and of angering his master, chooses to bury the money and play it safe.   Upon the master’s return each servant is asked to account for the money with which they had been entrusted. The master praises the two servants who took a risk and doubled their money. The servant who buried his talent, on the other hand, is judged harshly.

This parable is about investing–on several different levels. As most of us are well aware, putting your money in the market is risky business. And if your goal is to double the money you put in, as the first two servants in today’s parable did, the amount of risk you have to be willing to take is fairly extreme. They say in the world of venture capital, only about one out of ten makes it. The other times you lose it all. So, these two servants took a gamble, which paid off, and their master was pleased. The third servant, on the other hand, played it safe. In this time of a fickle stock market, this man looks very judicious indeed. He was cautious, conservative, and truly believed his master would be pleased that he had not lost a dime. How wrong he was.

Part of me wonders what would have happened if the first two servants had put their money into the market but had not been so successful—that they had been one of those to lose it all. I tend to believe this particular master, as wily as he seems to be, would have praised them nonetheless. It’s easy to read this parable in a number of ways (that’s the beauty of parables) but I would caution about interpreting it as an invitation to invest everything you have in bitcoin. You see, the point of this parable is not about getting rich quick, and it’s not even really about money; rather, it is about living. It is about investing. It is about engaging.

The third servant was judged harshly because he did little with what he was given. Another way to look at his particular sin, so to speak, is through the lens of the ancient church. The third servant was guilty of acedia, or sloth, as you may have more commonly heard it called. Acedia is a kind of spiritual idleness when one repeatedly ignores God’s invitations to participate in the Kingdom. If the spiritual life is a path through the woods upon which we are to travel, acedia is choosing to stop along the way and linger. And if we linger too long, we might even forget about the path altogether. One might call Acedia a form of holy procrastination.

As followers of Christ, you and I are given much in this life and are asked to do something bold with it. Surprisingly not all Christians see it this way. For some of us personal faith and religious practice have been conservative ventures. Religion can be the path of least resistance. For some, religion is about acquiring the right set of beliefs, not stirring the pot and avoiding bad things. Rather, Jesus invites us to live a life of engagement. He asks us to invest, to love and care deeply about this world we live in and about one another. He asks us to bravely risk having a broken heart; to risk being wounded in his service. The life of a disciple is one of adventure and of action.

As research would suggest, it is an essential part of human nature to want to engage in the world and to find meaning in the things and people that surround us, so much so that we will even seek meaning in our relationship with our iPhone. Burying our God-given talents in a hole is like locking ourselves out of the party to stand alone in the cold. While that sometimes might feel like the safe option, we won’t ultimately find fulfillment until we invest. It is through engagement with the world, as risky as it may be, that we are nourished, and we discover that we are the beautiful, talented individuals God created us to be.

Proper 28, Year A