Parables rarely contained “light” messages. Instead, Jesus used them to teach us complicated lessons in a very simplified form. The enjoyable stories were actually profound life lessons that Jesus was trying to teach to His listeners. Centuries later, they are still speaking to us and telling us how to live better for Him…Have you read the parable of the talents in the book of Matthew? Most of you have, but let’s recap. In His parable, Jesus tells the story of a landowner who goes away to a far away land, he entrusted the talents from his estate to three servants. To the first servant, he gave five talents; to the second he gave three talents, and finally to the third servant, he only gave one talent. After his journey, the landowner returnws to meet his servants. The first and the second servant had taken their talents, invested them, and were able to return double what they had been given. Because of their faithfulness and wisdom, the landowner praised them and promised to set them over more of his kingdom. He then turned to the servant he had entrusted one talent to and was displeased to find that he had taken his talent and buried it under a rock in fear of squandering it and disappointing his master. The master took the one talent away from the servant and banished him from his estate.
What was Jesus trying to tell His disciples?
Was he telling them not to sit idly on the money that they were given? Perhaps. Was he telling them to invest wisely? Perhaps. Was he telling them to invest into the kingdom? Perhaps. Having grown up in church, I’ve heard this parable several times, but just this morning at 2:45am something dawned on me.
Could this parable not also actually apply to the talents that God has individually given each and everyone one of us? God handcrafted each and every individual, and when He did so, He gave us each a distinct gift, a distinct personality, distinct strengths, and distinct talents. All of us can claim talent in some way or another. No, we all aren’t going to be rockstars, award-winning actors, world-changing politicians, record-setting mountain climbers, pulitzer-winning writers, or the host of our own talk show.
The thing is: these are not the only classifications of talents. You know who some of the most talented people in the world are? Moms. And not your executive or doctor moms, but your stay-at-home moms. Think about what they handle in any given day. They are exuding with talents. Somehow they manage to handle several children, clean a house, cook three meals a day, and keep their husbands in line. That’s talent. Take your sunday school teachers at church, are they talented? Yes. For you still in school, are your teachers talented? Yes. Take your doctor, is she talented? Yes. Take your best friend. Is she talented? Well, I know mine is, so I’ll bet yours is too.
But what is his or her talent? Are they using it? When you think about an individual it isn’t difficult to define what their talent is. Usually, it’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about that person. Without thinking you’ll say, “Oh they’re kind, they’re generous, they’re hospitable, they’re forgiving, they’re organized, they’re an amazing conversationalist, they’re a go-getter, they’re a savvy businessman, they’re punctual, they’re thorough.” Whatever it is, I know you’ve caught yourself saying one of the above about someone.
ALL OF THOSE ARE TALENTS.
Ok, so it isn’t some outrageous music ability, writing ability, or acting ability. You know what? None of those “talented” people would have made it without other “talented” people pushing and pulling for them. Along their journeys, their mothers, their babysitters, their teachers, their friends, their coworkers were all talented individuals who pushed them along their way. They all used their talents.
Some do manifest their talents more than others, and I believe as a result God does allow their talents to be doubled. Think about the above parable, the landowner gave each of his servants a certain amount of talents. He praised them for putting them to use, and he praised them for investing them. He scolded the one for not using his one talent. In fact, not only did he scold him, but he TOOK the talent away from him. If you have a talent, and you’re wasting it, I wouldn’t be surprised if it got taken away from you. When God gives us gifts and talents, He expects us to put them to use, or He wouldn’t have given them to us! Talents are GIFTS from the Creator, but He also gives us the choice to use them or not.
If you are aware of a talent that you have and you aren’t using it, I challenge you to really pray about it and ask God for direction on how to use it. He didn’t give you the talent, so you would go hide it under a rock. He gave you the talent to give glory to Him. He gave you the gift to invest into His kingdom. He gave you an ability so that you can love, encourage, and help others. Hiding your talent is ignoring the gifts God entrusted you with. Imagine all the good you could do if you used the talents that God gave you, and you used them to glorify His kingdom. Imagine if everyone used the talent God gave them. Imagine what the world would be like.
In 1 Timothy, Paul reminds Timothy not to forget the gift he was entrusted with: “Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress” – 1 Timothy 4:14-15.
Immerse yourself in them. Embrace your talent. Invest it. Use it. We all have been given different gifts. We shouldn’t look at others and envy their gifts, but we should focus on the gift that God so lovingly entrusted us with and put it to use for His kingdom. By doing so, He just might bless you and double your talents as the landowner did to the faithful servants in the parable. Can you be a faithful servant to Christ and invest your talents into His kingdom? Those who can be entrusted with little, can be entrusted with great things.
For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same functions, so we though many, are one body in Christ and individually members one of another. Having the gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.- Romans12:4-8
Whatever your talent is whether you think its big or small. Invest it. Invest it into the kingdom of Christ and allow God to start working through you.
What’s your talent?
“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more. His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours. But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ – Matthew 25:14-30