Talents

Dear Fellow-Disciple:

"For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves, and entrusted his possessions to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey.

"Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. But he who received the one talent went away and dug in the ground, and hid his master's money." (Matthew 25:14-18)

The rest of the story is familiar to us all. The two who did well with their talents were complimented by their master and given greater responsibilities. The one who hid his talent was stripped of what little he had, and was cast out.

Is our focus upon our limitations rather than our talent? Are we resigned to what some commonly refer to as our fate? Are we mired in self-pity, afraid to fail, so we never try, though we know God expects something from us?

Hopefully, that is not our case. We disciples of Christ realize His strength grows out of our weakness. We human beings are strange. We seem to learn and grow only when we're pushed or tormented or defeated. If we depend upon our own wits, we run into our own ignorance. This cures our deceit about ourselves. God really does work all things together for good.

Some of us live on the opposite side of the fence. We feel our assets are worthy of God, so we push them to the extreme to do good works. But any asset pushed too far becomes a liability. A talent pushed to the extreme becomes nothing more than an expression of flesh. Every time we push ourselves, we push God out of the picture.

The majority of us feel we have no talent God can use for His glory. We feel we have missed God for such a long time, that there is no way we could ever become His worthy servant. We would like to serve God, we would like to have a talent He could use, but there doesn't seem to be any.

It helps to see ourselves from God's perspective. We feel defective, but no one ever had a defect that God could not make useful. The wounded oyster mends its shell with a pearl. God mends our defects in an equally beautiful way.

We may be an addict, or an adulterer, or a murderer, or simply a miserable spouse or parent. Maybe we bought the lie at an early age that we would never amount to anything for as long as we live, and we are in the process of living out that lie.

We may never have thought about it from this point of view, but if we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior, and are making Him Lord of our life, we are no longer any of the things we were before! Our slate has been wiped clean, we are new creatures in Christ, and God is waiting for us to present our talent to Him to be sanctified!

Some may argue, "But we don't have a talent!" Yes we have! We may not be able to sing or play an instrument, or preach, but that's all right, God already has more of those talents than He needs.

Our talent may be nothing more than our past, miserable life. If so, we should get on your knees and offer it up to God. We can commit it to Him to use to His glory. We can present it to Him to be sanctified. When He gives it back to us, it will be more valuable than the pearl, and much more useful to God.

We can take that sanctified talent and minister the healing love of God to others. We can tell them we understand what they are going through, because we had the same experience. We can tell them how God delivered us out of the mire of self-pity and self-limitation and self-hate and self-everything-else, and placed us in His kingdom to receive His blessing and His love.

How do we know when we have really released our past to God and He has given it back to us, sanctified? Through our closest relationships.

The more we reach out to others, the more our talent grows and the more God is glorified. In the process, we find satisfaction and peace we haven't known before. As we use this meager talent, God gives us more. He reaches inside us and gives birth to abilities beyond our comprehension. He says, "Well done, good and faithful servant, I will make you ruler over much!" We mustn't limit the unlimited One.

Jesus is King!

P.S. What are you doing of eternal value?

Question for today: What is my talent and what am I doing with it?