Today, we remember a God-fearing and devout Catholic, a beloved husband and father, an honest, competence and diligent professional, and a selfless patriot, Sir Dr. Ing. Paul Victor Obeng, affectionately called “PV Obeng”. In this sermon, after considering the meaning of the talents mentioned in Matthew 25:14-30, we will look at some talents which Sir PV Obeng was blessed with, and learn some lessons from his distinguished life.


Why did Sir PV Obeng strive to make right his relationship with God, family, work and nation? It is because, we are all accountable to God. Thus, St. Paul admonishes us in first reading, “We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.” (Rom. 14:7-8). Then, in the gospel reading, our Lord Jesus Christ gives us a parable in which three (3) servants accounted for the various talents which their master had entrusted to them (cf. Matt. 25:14-30).

A talent, in the gospel parable, was the annual gross salary of a servant in those days. So, even the servant who was given one talent had enough for investment. Similarly, although some are more talented than others, God has adequately endowed all human beings. In our case, the talents are God’s blessings, not gross salaries. And God expects us to render account of the talents at the end of our lives.


God blessed Sir PV Obeng with several talents, but I wish to consider only five (5) of them (as that was the highest number of talents mentioned in the parable). Sir PV Obeng was blessed with:

  1. Life
  2. Catholic faith
  3. Marriage and family life
  4. Profession
  5. Public service
  1. LIFE

This is the one talent which God invests in all of us. God invests in each human being a span of life. This could be 1± hour, 1± day, 1± week, 1± year, 10± years, 50± years, 60± years, 70± years, 80± years, 90± years, 100± years, etc. Now, the person who has only 10 years is not expected to account for 100 years, but for only the 10 years. Similarly, the one who has 100 years is expected to account for all those years. So, as we pray for long life, let us know that we will have to account for every minute, every hour and every day of all those years.

Sir PV Obeng attained 66 years, 9 months, less 2 days; and this is the lifespan he has to account for. Let us pray that the merciful God will credit him with all the many good things he did and overlook all the shortcomings in his 66+ years.


The second talent which God blessed Sir PV Obeng with is the Catholic faith. Unlike the gift of life, not all humans receive this blessing. Sir PV Obeng received the blessing of the Catholic faith through his family.

Now, remember that faith as a talent is God’s investment in us and so He expects returns/interests from us. To yield the returns, we have to work with our faith. The Letter of St. James is instructive in this regard: “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? … faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith, and I have works.’ Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” (James 2:14,17-18).

As an accomplished engineer, Sir PV Obeng saw faith as an engine and work as its energizing fuel. Therefore, amidst his very busy professional and political life, he prioritized his spiritual growth as a Catholic. Firstly, he would energize his faith through prayers, Bible reading, the reception of the Sacraments, etc.

Secondly, he would nurture his family in the Catholic faith, beginning with his dear wife whom he led to the faith. He was also committed to his family morning devotions.

Thirdly, convinced to the core that whatever you do to the least in society you did it to the Lord Jesus (cf. Matt. 25:40), he was charitable to many of them.

Fourthly, he took interest in supporting priests, religious sisters and brothers. Furthermore, as a staunch member of the Good Shepherd Parish, he donated generously towards parish projects, programmes and associations. Indeed, his support went beyond this Archdiocese to Obuasi Diocese and elsewhere.

No wonder, then, that Sir PV Obeng’s outstanding works of faith would be recognized by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, who awarded him with the Order of the Knights of (Pope) St. Gregory the Great (KSGG).

Beloved, how are we also managing God’s investments of faith in our lives? Are we demonstrating our faith through good works? Does our faith impact on our family, profession and public service?


Marriage and family life is the third talent we wish to consider. If you are married, God will assess how you relate with your spouse, children and other family members. How responsible are you in this regard?

The biography of Sir PV Obeng and several tributes attest to the fact that he managed very well the blessing of marriage and family life:

  • To his wife, he was more than a beloved and caring husband; he was her soul-mate and the biggest blessing in her life
  • To his children, he was the best dad in many respects, including the transmission of the Catholic faith
  • To his nephews and nieces, he was not just a good uncle, but a generous father, friend and mentor
  • To his siblings, he was a beloved and supportive brother, as well as a family unifier whose good counsel was readily sought for especially in challenging times.

Therefore, to those who are married: are you managing your marriage as an investment on which God expects returns? If God has blessed you with children, nephews, nieces, siblings, aging parents, etc., how do you relate to them? How do you support them?


The fourth talent under consideration is one’s profession. Once again as an investment in us, God will assess the returns we make on our profession. Today in Ghana, many people work as if they will be assessed by only their human bosses. Worse still, some people work knowing that there will be no serious human assessment due to laxity and corruption in our systems – the “godfather syndrome”. In this gloomy context, what does Ing. PV Obeng teach us?

Having earned his BSc. in Mechanical Engineering from KNUST in 1971, Ing. PV Obeng was first employed by the United Africa Motors. He later joined Mankoadze Fisheries (Tema). As his faith influenced his family life, so it influenced his professional life. Knowing that he would account not only to his human bosses but to God Himself, Ing. PV Obeng maintained an extraordinary work ethic. He was competent, diligent, meticulous, honest, etc. His work ethic and output endeared him to Mr. Robert Ocran, the founder of Mankoadze Fisheries, who literally adopted him as his heir apparent.

Along the way, Ing. PV Obeng became a fellow of the Ghana Institute of Engineers. However, because of the call to nation duty, he would sacrifice his industrial and commercial career and enter into politics. This next phase of his life will be considered as the fifth talent God gave him.

Before doing so, let the work ethic and output of Ing. PV Obeng be a reminder that even if our human bosses will neglect to assess us, God will certainly audit our life-work one day. Let us, therefore, work knowing that no hard work nor laziness, no honesty nor corruption, no diligence nor negligence, no integrity nor conflict-of-interest escapes the CCTV camera of God.


The fifth and last talent we wish to consider is the ability God gives us to render public service or to contribute to society. In the Parable of the Talents, the man who made a profit of five (5) from the five (5) talents entrusted to him did not reward himself. He duly rendered his accounts, and his master rewarded him (cf. Matt. 25:28). On the contrary, today in Ghana, many enter into public service, especially politics, not only to pay themselves, but even anticipate the wealth they could amass. Hence, the incidences of monetization of votes, corruption, violence, etc. This is even worse than the man who received only one talent and returned it to the master, for he made no personal gains. And if he was severely punished by his master, then imagine what punishment the Lord God has in store for those who fleece our nation, Ghana.

To avoid God’s punishment but rather enjoy His eternal blessings, let us learn from Sir PV Obeng. When he was invited by the then Head of State, Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings, to serve in the PNDC government in 1986, the socio-economic environment in Ghana was harsh. Yet, Sir PV Obeng selflessly abandoned his lucrative industrial enterprise to serve our nation as a patriot. With a rare combination of intelligence, eloquence, competence, wisdom, humility and integrity, he would serve with distinction our nation under four (4) different presidents in various capacities until 17th May, 2014, when the Lord called him to eternal service.


Finally, let us pray that as God audits Sir PV Obeng’s life of 66+ years, his Catholic faith, his marriage and family life, his professional life, as well as his public service, He will, by His eyes of mercy, arrive at a balance sheet in which his spiritual assets far outweigh his spiritual liabilities. And so, say to him: “Well done, you good and faithful servant. … Enter the joy of your master” (Matt. 25:23; MEV).


Bishop John Kobina Louis

Most Rev. John Kobina Louis is an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Accra, Ghana. More about him here.

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Catholic Homilies and Sermons for the Liturgical Year by Most Rev. John Kobina Louis, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Accra, Ghana.

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