The subject of talents seems to have come up a lot lately. Or more specifically, the subject of my writing talent. Several people have commented on my blog that I am talented. My response is always that my writing talent is a gift from God, and that I have seen that the more I use that talent to glorify God the more He increases that talent.
Then last Sunday our interim pastor preached a sermon based on the Parable of the Talents as recorded in Matthew 25:14-30 (NIV). I love this parable, and our pastor made a couple of interesting observations that I want to share (though not necessarily in the order he shared them because I forgot to take notes – note taking is not one of my greatest talents).
First, he pointed us back to the parable immediately before this one, and that is the Parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25:1-13 (NIV). The lamp oil referred to in this earlier parable represents the Holy Spirit. To be ready to receive, use, and multiply the talents that God gives us, we must be filled with and rely on the Holy Spirit.
Second, although the Parable of the Talents refers to money that was given to each of the servants, Jesus isn’t really talking about money. He is talking about whatever the Lord entrusts to us, including our spiritual gifts and natural talents.
Third, he pointed out that each of the three servants in the Parable of the Talents was given a different number of talents, “each according to his ability.” Matthew 25:15 (NIV). Here Jesus is saying that God gives different talents to different people. We need to use the talents God has given us, and not always be looking at others and wishing we had their talents. Although I have a talent for writing, there are other things (such as singing and caring for the sick) that I don’t have the greatest talent for. Rather than being jealous of those who have talents I don’t, I should be thankful for the blessing they are and for the talents I have been given.
Fourth, if God gives us a talent and we use it to His glory, He will give us the ability to succeed. It may not be the kind of success the world tells us to seek. We may not gain material possessions or status or fame. But we will succeed at furthering the kingdom of God.
Finally, when we use our talents as God has called us to, they will be multiplied. The kingdom of God will be increased and we will be blessed. Then our Lord will say:
‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ Matthew 25:23 (NIV).
But when you refuse to use our talents for His glory, in the end they will be taken away and given to those who have been faithful with God’s gifts.
So what are you doing with the talents God has given you? You do have some, you know, even if you think you don’t. Are you hiding your talents in a hole in the ground? Or are you using them to the best of your ability? If you’ve hidden them, I urge you to go dig them up now and start using them for God’s glory before the Master returns and it’s too late.