I’ve grown up going to church. I have heard each story probably a hundred times but recently I heard one in a different light. That’s why you can never say, “I don’t need to read the Bible anymore, I’ve read the whole thing.” Every time I read or hear a passage it can speak to me where I’m at today. It can bring new meaning to my life.
This is the parable from BibleGateway.com Matthew 25:14-29
Matthew 25:14-29 English Standard Version (ESV)
The Parable of the Talents
14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants[a] and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents,[b] to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 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.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.[c] You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 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.’ 23 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.’ 24 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, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ 26 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? 27 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. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 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.
I’ve always thought about this parable to be about money. Then I was challenged to think about talents literally as your own talents; abilities, skills, gifts, etc. When you reread the parable in this light it brings on a whole new meaning.
God has given each and every person a talent or ability; usually many and some more than others. When we use our talents, He blesses that and so much growth happens.
I underlined the parts that really spoke to me about people who don’t use their talents and abilities. The first being in verse 25 where it says I was afraid. Fear is a crippling factor. It prevents so much joy. Fear stops people from using their talents. Fear is that little voice in our minds saying, “You’re not as talented as that person.” or “You aren’t good enough to do that task.” That’s fear.
The second underline is in verse 25 where it says I hid my talent. I literally just heard a friend say she doesn’t want the church to know what her talents are because she doesn’t want to be used and abused. How often do we not stand up and say, “I can do that”? We try not to let others know what talents we have because if people find out we are an artist we will be called on to paint something and that takes time. If they find out we can sing, we will be called to sing in the praise band and have to attend practice and that takes time. If they find out we can build, we will be called on to fix the church roof, and that takes time. Now, there’s something to be said about needing a bit of a break and not overtaxing your family but there’s a general rule of thumb that 20% of the people do 80% of the work. If you are in that 20%, this message isn’t really for you! You know who you are. You’re on committees, you’re always busy, you volunteer, you help people, you’re often the first to raise your hand when a hand is needed. You are talented and not afraid.
If you find you have all the time in the world for selfish ambitions, and have not much else to do with your time other than crossword puzzles, maybe it’s time to take a gifts and abilities test and see where you are gifted. Maybe the term slothful servant could be applied to you? Have you been lazy with your gifts? Have you been using your talents and abilities or have you been too busy with the daily grind of life that you have been unproductive? If you’re caught up on every series on Netflix, that could be a clue that you have been a bit of a sloth! Time to get up and start seeking where you could use your talents.
God didn’t give you talents for them to be hidden and not used. A talent hidden is a talent lost. When we don’t practice our skills, they can often be forgotten. When we use our talents, God blesses our efforts. He wants to see us use the gifts He has given us not fear that they are not good enough. He wants us to use them for good; to help others. There is so much to be done in this world. So many ways to use your gifts and abilities. You’ll be blessed when you do.
It’s important to remember that even when we are not gifted in a certain area, God can still use us and give us abilities to do great things. If you feel God is calling you to paint a mural on your church ceiling maybe you should have some artistic ability but if the church nursery needs painting and the call goes out for help, don’t say no just because you’re not an artist. God can steady your hand enough to be helpful.