“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.’” – Matthew 25:21 ESV
Most of are familiar with the Parable of the Talents, but we’re going to explore it from a new angle today. Normally, I’d copy and paste the verses right here for you, but the parable itself is about as long as this blog post, so I’ll take the liberty of summarizing: Before the master leaves town on a long trip, he entrusts three servants with his money, a type of currency called “talents,” according to their ability. The first two see this as an opportunity to do right by their master and set out to wisely invest and grow what they were given. They each double the money he entrusted to them. The third, the one he entrusted with the least, was afraid of the man and didn’t feel worthy of the task, so he buried his talent to keep it safe and returned it to the master in its original condition. The master was understandably ecstatic with the performance of the first two servants and bestowed each one with additional gifts and responsibilities. However, he was livid with the third and took his talent away, giving it to the first servant, who was also the most “talented” steward. (See what I did there?!)
I spent most of my life thinking this was a parable about money. I mean, duh. However, It’s so much more than that. It’s about how we steward our blessings in every area of life. I also believe no small coincidence that the type of money referenced is “talents.” Perhaps you can relate to this, but I often hide my talents. Not “talents” as in currency, but personal talents, as in the giftings that God has placed upon me. The aptitudes that he intends for me to develop and multiply and use for his good, that he entrusted to me to steward well. We all have talents but, unfortunately, we are often afraid to admit we have them, let alone grow or use them. How are you supposed to develop something you refuse to acknowledge is there?
We also live in a society where it is frowned upon for people, especially women, to acknowledge their gifts. It’s generally regarded as arrogant if a female says, “I’m great at _____.” If I looked at you right now and said, “Tell me what you’re good at!” you would probably panic as you awkwardly scraped around in your mind to come up with a list, or even one single item to report. To me, that is a sad commentary on our culture.
“10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” – 1 Peter 4:10-11
Despite the world’s messages, God gave us all our own unique type of genius – gifts that complement each other’s and fill in the blanks where others lack that specific aptitude. We’re meant to grow and develop these talents, to steward them well, multiply and help others with them, and use them to advance God’s kingdom.
Where would the world be if Jesus, Paul, Peter, Mother Teresa, Beethoven, Thomas Edison, the Wright brothers, Henry Ford, Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Marie Curie, Shakespeare, Maya Angelou, or Martin Luther King, Jr. refused to cultivate the gifts God entrusted to them – if they hid their talents and refused to develop them out of fear of failure or feelings of unworthiness. We would live in a barbaric, boring, uninspired world! How the world would sound if no one dared to sing? Can you imagine world without poetry, music, dance, or comedy? A world without Dr. Seuss. Without scientific advancements, healing ministries, doctors, or nurses. A world without books or sports, or even movies. A world without excellence.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:14-16
The list goes on, but every single thing we do or achieve is because God blessed us with the talent to do it. However, ideally, in each instance, the recipient of the blessing of talent must be willing to take the next steps to cultivate their God-given gifts in partnership with God, from a place of reverence, gratitude, and humility, while giving Him all the credit, which is where credit is due.
Now, take a moment to envision where our world would be if everyone bravely acknowledged and developed their gifts and used them to benefit humankind and advance God’s Kingdom? World Peace? Check. Homelessness? Eradicated. Abuse? A thing of the past. We’re all uniquely gifted, so my questions is these: What hidden gifts are you holding back? What gems of talent are waiting for you to unearth them? What treasure is the world missing out on because you haven’t given yourself permission to explore the beautify of your blessing? God designed you with specific gifts to help heal the world. Use them.
Prayer: God, I acknowledge You have blessed me with gifts, and I sincerely thank You for them. Thank you for opening my eyes to the potential You’ve given me and help me see how you want me to use it. Help me steward these talents until the goodness of your gifting overflows out of me and into the world, making it a better place for You and everyone else. Amen.
Is something holding you back from sharing your gifts? Has God ever blessed you for stepping out in faith? If so, I would love to hear from you! Please share your story in the comments below.
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