I don’t have a wonderful singing voice, but I love to sing. And sometimes, when I get to work early and no one is there, I will sing as I go about my work. Then one day one of my co-workers came up to me and told me how much she had enjoyed the songs I had been singing that morning. I was shocked and embarrassed, and the next time I was tempted to sing at work, I stopped myself. Why? Because that singing was never supposed to be heard by anyone! I am, after all, not talented enough to be a blessing…
But there was that little fact that my co-worker told me she had been blessed by my squeaky attempts to hold a tune…Hum…
It all makes me think about this whole concept of talents. It seems to me that when it comes to talents, there are 4 classes of people:
1. Those who have few, recognize their limitations, and keep what little talent they might have to themselves;
2. Those who have few, recognize their limitations, but aren’t afraid to use the few they have;
3. Those who have many, but believe their talents aren’t good enough and thus, they don’t use them; and
4. Those who have many and who aren’t afraid to use them.
Jesus actually has a lot to say about three of these types of people: “And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey.” (Matt 25:15)
In this famous parable, Jesus directly addresses the two classes of people that have been given little, and one of the classes that has been given much!
In the story, the man who is very talented (5 talents!) uses those talents. He invests them back into the rich man’s kingdom: “Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents.” (Matt 25:16). This man is, therefore, in the class of the ones who are talented and not afraid to use those talents.
The second man is not very talented. He has only two talents. However, he also invests them back into the rich man’s kingdom. “And likewise he who had received two gained two more also.” (Matt 25:17). He represents the class of people who have few talents, but who aren’t afraid to sow what they have back into God’s kingdom.
The third man is also not very talented. He has only received one talent, and he recognizes his lack of talent. “But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money.” (Matt 25:18). He represents the first class of people, who have few talents, recognize their lack, and bury what they have.
Why would he do such a thing? Because he believes that the “lord of those servants” is a perfectionist, that he requires perfection in all that he does: “Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground.” (Matt 25:24,25)
Hum. Is that why I am concerned about people hearing me sing? Because I’m afraid that God requires perfection, and since I don’t have a perfect voice, He will be angry with me if I try?
Let’s see what happens to these three men:
The lord of those servants then comes back to “settle accounts with them.” Here is his response to the very talented man, the one who has invested the 5 talents and has earned back 5 more: “His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'” (Matt 25:21)
The lord of the servants is proud of this man!
But then, why wouldn’t he sow his talents back into the kingdom? He is, after all, very talented!
The lord’s response to the second servant is also very interesting. This is the servant who doesn’t have many talents at all, but who invests what he does have and earns interest: “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.” (Matt 25:23)
Wait! Isn’t this the exact same response he gives to the man who is very talented?
But notice his response to the third servant, the one who isn’t talented at all, who recognizes his lack of talent, and who doesn’t do anything: “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.'” (Matt 25:15-28, NKJV)
What Jesus is saying here, friends, is that it isn’t how talented we are that matters, it’s what we do with those talents!
Hum. But this is speaking about “talents,” a word used for money in the New Testament. Surely God isn’t trying to tell me that I need to sow my poor singing voice back into the kingdom!!!
Or is He? Join us next week, for Sowing Your Talents, Part 2.
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
(Please click here for the rest of the Sowing our Talents series)