Monday, October 24, 2016
Where are Your Talents?
In Matthew 25:14-15 Jesus begins the parable of the Talents.
For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them.
And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability and immediately he went on a journey.
The two servants who were given five and two talents doubled theirs, but the third servant hid his talent in the ground as revealed in Matthew 25:24-29.
Then he who had received the one talent came and said, “Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed.
“And I was afraid and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.”
But his lord answered and said to him, “You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed.
“So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.
“Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.
“For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance, but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.”
How many talents do you have? God is very generous to those who receive even one talent. The servant who received only one was entrusted with a lot of money. A Roman talent weighed 71 pounds. The heavy common talent in New Testament times weighed 130 pounds! That would equate to a lot of Roman coins.
I’d heard the parable of the talents many times and always thought it referred to gold. Actually, the English word talent, meaning gift or skill, has its origin in this parable, but it wasn’t until 2012 when my pastor was preaching on Matthew 25 that I finally awakened to the fact that we must use our talents to the fullest extent possible.
I’d never considered myself particularly talented. I love music but can't carry a tune if my life depended on it. When my daughter was little, she wanted to learn to play the piano. I took lessons with her. Unfortunately, neither one of us were talented enough to learn more than a few tunes.
Likewise, my ability to draw or paint or sculpt was nearly nonexistent. On the other hand, I do have some artistic ability with several crafts. I learned to create beautiful things in crochet and knit.
Though I’ve created stories since childhood, I never considered writing to be my talent until middle age when I joined a writer’s group. After several manuscripts and conferences, I received some interest from publishers if—I’d add some spice to my stories. And I did, until I knew I’d never put my name on any of them.
Then life happened, and I packed them up and hid them in my closet.
When the pastor asked, “Have you hidden your talents?” I recalled those manuscripts buried in my closet. Just to be sure this was a nudging from the Lord, I asked Him to give me a new story if He wanted me to develop this talent. By the end of the week I had the bones of an entire series. And so my journey began.
But while music, art, and writing are all certainly talents, I think our most precious gifts are very different. My husband had a gift of mechanical things. There was nothing he couldn’t fix, often in very creative ways. My mother had an amazing talent for growing things. She grew most of our vegetables, and her flower garden was a thing of beauty. My sister-in-law had a talent of compassion. She ministered to the dying and their families in a way I never could have. Another lady I knew had a gift of helps. If anyone had a need in the church, she was the first to spearhead the effort to meet the need.
I have known doctors who have the gift of healing, and they have helped restore many to health. I have known teachers who have a gift of teaching, and they have changed children's lives. I have been blessed by the talents of others, including this wonderful group of writers here at STT.
Whatever our talents are, we should develop them and use them to the best of our ability. We will be rewarded.