Sunday, November 13, 2011

What are you doing with your talent?

Gospel Mt 25:14-30

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
"A man going on a journey
called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.
To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one--
to each according to his ability.
Then he went away.
Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them,
and made another five.
Likewise, the one who received two made another two.
But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground
and buried his master's money.

After a long time
the master of those servants came back
and settled accounts with them.
The one who had received five talents came forward
bringing the additional five.
He said, 'Master, you gave me five talents.
See, I have made five more.'
His master said to him, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master's joy.'
Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said,
'Master, you gave me two talents.
See, I have made two more.'
His master said to him, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master's joy.'
Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said,
'Master, I knew you were a demanding person,
harvesting where you did not plant
and gathering where you did not scatter;
so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground.
Here it is back.'
His master said to him in reply, 'You wicked, lazy servant!
So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant
and gather where I did not scatter?
Should you not then have put my money in the bank
so that I could have got it back with interest on my return?
Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten.
For to everyone who has,
more will be given and he will grow rich;
but from the one who has not,
even what he has will be taken away.
And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.'"

In various religious texts, there can be found some interesting personal development gems. One from the Bible is “The Parable of the Talents.”

The Parable of the Talents is one of the stories Jesus told to teach a moral lesson. Although the word “talents” in the story refers literally to money, you can obviously extend the meaning to other areas. It’s interesting to read it using the common definition of “talents.”
This simple story makes some interesting points that are applicable to the pursuit of personal development.

The parable of the talents is found in Matthew chapter 25. It actually deals with the subject of money, but has broader application as well. The master gave three different amounts of money to three of his servants to invest as each was able, according to his ability. The servant with the most invested his amount wisely and so did the second, each according to his ability. The second man’s return was not as much as the first, but then he did not have as much to start with. God commends the first two servants as being faithful with what had been given them. But the third servant with the smallest talent did not use it and gave the master no return on His investment. His master called him unprofitable, lazy and “wicked”. Obviously God takes this business of being faithful with what you have been entrusted with, very seriously.

I feel sorry for the unfaithful servant, because he made a tragic mistake. I do not believe he was necessarily “lazy” on purpose, he may have just failed to realize the significance of what he was given, and, as a result, failed to put it to good use. It was “only one” talent, and compared to the five talents given to the other man, what use was his one? Why even try and compete?

Many people today are making this same mistake. How often have you heard this………”Oh, I can’t sing very well, I don’t think I should audition for the church choir.” Or……“My guitar playing isn’t very good, I could take lessons, but what’s the point, there are so many much more talented than I am.” Or the budding songwriter / author whose efforts pale in comparison to those seasoned in the industry, giving up after their first big “no”.

There is a huge mistake being made by these millions of one-talent-holders in the kingdom, and it is this - the vast majority of kingdom business must be done by these people, and if they fail to do their part, the business of the kingdom is largely left undone. Not many people are given five talents and even fewer are given ten. The majority of people in the Kingdom are just one talent people, and most of the work of the kingdom is going to be done by the vast majority of these people. There are very few “gospel stars” or famous Christian authors or well-known evangelists. Most people are not saved by the eloquence of the worlds most gifted speakers. Most people are saved by the faithful workmate or relative who shares the gospel with them – imperfectly, but effectively nevertheless. Most people do not go to their local church to have some famous gospel group lead them in worship. No, it is the humble church musician who faithfully gives his one talent every Sunday, doing his best to honor the Lord with what has been entrusted to him. What would the forest be like if only the birds who sang the best were allowed to sing? It would be a very silent place. Where would the church be if only the world’s best were allowed to sing and play their instruments before the Lord? It would be a very quiet place. “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!”

The earth is robbed of God’s plan of bringing ministry to a hurt and dying world when the gifts He sends into the earth are despised by those who receive them. Have you despised your talent? Have you hidden it somewhere, too discouraged or too self-centered to see beyond your own poor self-image? It’s not about you. When God gave you a gift to sing dance play write or whatever, He wasn’t thinking about you, He was thinking of somebody else. We need to stop thinking about ourselves and comparing our gift with others, and just get on with the business of being faithful givers of what we’ve got. “They that compare themselves among themselves are unwise” ( 2Cor.10:12 ) “Let every man prove his own work and then he shall have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.” ( Gal.6:4) Acknowledge the uniqueness of your own calling, and give yourself to the world. Do not be unfaithful to those God has called you to by holding back your gift, because you are too proud to admit to the world that you are only a “one talent” vessel.

Another reason every person should be faithful with their “talent” is for the sake of authenticity and uniqueness. When God made you He made you uniquely different. He gave you a background and perspective on life that no one else has. That means you have a story to tell that no one else can tell. He gave you a voice like none other, and like a finger print it uniquely identifies you. There is a beauty to your voice that cannot be matched by any other, and when you sing it has a sound that captures the ear because of its uniqueness. Rarity is what gives something it’s value. Diamonds are more valuable than coal because there is less of them. You are unique, and therein lies your great value to the world. No one will ever sing like you. No one will ever write songs like you. No one will ever minister quite like you. So who is going to sing your song if not you? No one can compete with you. You are the best “you” there is. It may only be one talent, but someone somewhere in the overall scheme of things needs what you have. That is why God judges so harshly the unfaithful servant, because by despising the gift entrusted to you, you deny someone something that was your responsibility to supply.

Peace & love,

Rev Sue Provost

"This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. " (1 John 4:9-10)

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