What Are Your Talents?
Helen Dowd

There is another story similar to this one, "God Given Talents" taken from Matthew 25:14-30, but it has a slightly different message.

Now let's see what message we can glean from the account Luke gives.

Luke 19:12-27 tells the story of a nobleman who gave ten servants money, and told them to "Occupy till I come." (verse 13) He did not tell the servants what they should be doing. He didn't give them jobs. He didn't set one of them over the other. He just gave them one pound each (that is twelve and a half ounces of silver), and then he went away on a journey, and said he would be back.

When he returned, he called the men up to give an account of themselves. He didn't say to the men, "Now I expect that you have made a lot of money for me by your trading and business deals." He just asked them how they had fared. The first man told him that his pound had gained ten pounds. The nobleman was pleased, and put him in charge of ten cities.

The second man, not quite as prosperous, but just as diligent, handed the nobleman five pounds in return for the pound. The master didn't scold him or tell him he was stupid or lazy for not doing better with the money. He praised him for his effort, and made him lord over five cities. Judging the men on their abilities and diligence, he did not over burden them with responsibilities they couldn't handle. He knew that both these men would do their best to judge the cities they were put in charge of.

Now comes along the third man, trembling in his boots because he was afraid of the nobleman. He had been told that he was not a fair man, and wouldn't be pleased with his efforts, no matter how hard he tried. Because of his fear, this man didn't do anything with the money. He just kept it wrapped up in a napkin, and handed it back to the master, exactly as it was. Instead of a commendation to this servant for being diligent in hanging on to the money, and not spending it on himself, or squandering it, he condemned him because he did nothing with it. He told him that he was a wicked and lazy servant. He took the money that he had given to this servant, and he gave it to the man who had gained the most money.

May your mind be never idle.
May your tongue have on a bridle.
May your ears be tuned to listen for the good.
May you occupy your fingers
Doing kind deeds that will linger.
May you feet be brave to go where few feet would.

God has given each of us some sort of talent, just as the nobleman gave these ten men silver. The nobleman did not tell the servants how to make the best of what he had given them. God does not tell us how to make the best of the talents He has given us. He just tells us to occupy ourselves. The rest is up to us.

I remember hearing, not long ago, about a man who had a serious disability, both physically and in his speech. But that didn't stop him. He became a door-to-door salesman. That is not an easy job. It brings rejections by more than 90%, than it does acceptances. But he persisted. He didn't make a great living, but it was enough to keep him off the roles of the welfare. He could easily have collected disability pension, but that was not his way. He walked (no car) the streets from early morning until late at night, six days a week, in order to make a living. He found a tiny talent that God had given him, and he used it.

A friend of mine lamented to me that she had talents, but was not allowed to use them. I have no idea why she could not use them. She didn't say. It made me sad, though, because I felt her pain. I too, for many years, thought I had NO talents. I was told so as a child, by teachers, adults, employers (never by my parents.) So of course, I just hid behind my doubts and did nothing. But then an aunt spurred my insecurity by telling me that I did have a talent. I could write. So, with trepidation I began writing. With God's help, I found that I did have a talent.

To admit that you have a talent is not being boastful. The talent was given to you, not to hide, but to use. The ten servants had no money to begin with. It was given to them. It was not theirs to do with what they liked. They were told to put it to use. It is the same way with whatever God has entrusted to us. It is not ours. We must use it, or God will hold us responsible.

Whatever your talents, no matter how small, USE THEM. Perhaps it is just to wash dishes, wipe up messes, change diapers, make meals, or do any other menial tasks. What ever it is, DO IT. God will reward it. If you think you have some fantastic talent, but cannot use it now because of circumstances, don't worry. It will not go away. If you are busy right now working with the "pound" God gave you, do it diligently. You will be rewarded. God has promised.

"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might." Ecclesiastes 9:10

Helen Dowd.

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