Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Gift of a Talent

For quite a few months now I have found myself thinking about the parable in Matthew 25:14-30, the Parable of the Talents. If you are not familiar with this story, I encourage you to click on the link above and read it before proceeding any further. Grant it, I realize this passage isn't literally about "talents" as we know them, but it is indeed applicable to anything we have received from God, whether it be finances, talents etc.

I'm not really sure what triggered my thoughts being strong on this passage as of late. Perhaps working in a church pioneering effort on foreign soil and the many various hats our team here has to wear has got me thinking about it. Logically, for every responsibility each person on the team here holds, there is a God given talent being used to accomplish it. And we each wear many hats, some weeks more than others. That said though, this hasn't provoked me to think, "Oh look at that, you got this talent and that talent, and...", but rather it has made me more strongly aware of those areas that I wish I were more skilled in, those areas where I wish I could at least offer to rotate out with someone or fill a void that no one else is either able to or has time to fill. (Since the amount of people on the ministry team here fluctuates, due to various reasons, sometimes most voids are filled, sometimes they are not..we do what we can with what and who we have, and trust God to bless our efforts.)

So, in light of these circumstances, and the extreme seriousness of the latter part of this passage, I have found myself praying for God to reveal to me talents He has given me that I may not yet be aware of. Instead, thus far, He has begun to remind me of ones I have had in the past, that I no longer use, or ones that I had begun developing, but had cast aside due to inconvenience, lack of time, (insert another bad excuse), etc.

And, I have decided to do something about it. This year, my "hobbies" will revolve mainly around strengthening my skills in an instrument I used to play (violin), as well as becoming more skilled on the piano, so that I no longer freeze up or feel like I am going to get sick every time I have to play in front of people. (I don't want to stop at being "good enough", but getting past the "freak out" stage will be my starting point.:-)

There are other things God has been dealing with me about.. for example a foreign language that I don't even want to think about how many hours, between high school and college, I have spent time studying, only to not have ever achieved fluency? My reasoning has been that I don't think I'll ever live any where that it is a national language, yet, with all the time I've committed already, why not complete the process? That language is French and one of my closest friends who live here in Latvia now is from France..I really have no excuses.

I could mention more things God has been speaking to me about, but I won't. My point is this: God created us. We are His. We, including our time and our talents, are His. So, are there any talents that you are neglecting in your life? What skills has God given you that you no longer use or that you have never finished polishing off? What is holding you back? How legitimate are your excuses?

Whether you have many talents or few is not the point, the point is, is there something you can be doing (or at least be able to do, should it be needed) that you are not doing? Is there something that you could be able to do with a little (or perhaps quite a bit of) work?

Maybe you fall in a different category. Maybe you are like someone close to me who has many talents, but their talents were abused, due to their not ever being able to say "no", when asked to be in charge of this or that. Eventually they did learn to say "no"...and never stopped. This is not ok either. We can each only carry so heavy of a load, however we must all do what we can as we are able.

So I dare you, ask God what talents you might have tucked away long ago or that you may be completely unaware of. Talents He gave you for a purpose. Whether God given-talents or skills in which He provided the opportunity for you to attain them, it doesn't matter. Discover them, then give those gifts back to God.
But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money... Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

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