Sunday Devotional: How are you using your talents?

The Parable of the Talents
Matthew 25:14-30

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“A man going on a journey
called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.
To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one–
to each according to his ability.
Then he went away.
Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them,
and made another five.
Likewise, the one who received two made another two.
But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground
and buried his master’s money.

After a long time
the master of those servants came back
and settled accounts with them.
The one who had received five talents came forward
bringing the additional five.
He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents.
See, I have made five more.’
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.’
Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said,
‘Master, you gave me two talents.
See, I have made two more.’
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.’
Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said,
‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person,
harvesting where you did not plant
and gathering where you did not scatter;
so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground.
Here it is back.’
His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant!
So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant
and gather where I did not scatter?
Should you not then have put my money in the bank
so that I could have got it back with interest on my return?
Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten.
For to everyone who has,
more will be given and he will grow rich;
but from the one who has not,
even what he has will be taken away.
And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.'”

creation-of-man
The homilies and sermons I’ve heard invariably define “talents” as natural aptitudes or skills, such as a “talent” for music, or math, or speech, or writing, or athleticism…. We are exhorted to make “good” use of our “talents” without explaining what “good use” means.
But if you think about it, in His parable Jesus did not define “talents,” nor did He restrict the word’s meaning to aptitudes or skills. In the context of the parable, the word “talent” clearly means “gift.”
So what “gifts” has our Creator given each of us? — All given generously, bountifully, and gratuitously, for being born with those “gifts,” none of us actually did anything to deserve them.
I can think of the following gifts, about which I ask myself if and how I have and am using them — to good? to disuse (“buried in the ground”)? or worse, to ill?
1. The Gift of Life: Life is precious and truly miraculous. We are to honor, treasure, and respect not just our own life (and not throw it away in suicide), but also all life, including the unborn still in their mothers’ wombs, as well as other life forms on Earth, for we are called to be good stewards of His creation.
2. The Gift of a Body: Our bodies are truly a miracle. It is only when a part of our body fails that we realize what a miracle it is — how each organ (just look at the eyeball!) is a fascinating and most intricate construction; and how every part must work in perfect coordination to keep us alive. We are to honor this fantastic gift by keeping our bodies intact (i.e., not mutilating it for no good reason via body piercing, tattoo, cutting, perverse amputation, vain cosmetic surgery….) and healthy, instead of abusing our bodies with gluttony, drugs, tobacco, alcohol, STDs and worse from promiscuity and bizarre sexual practices like anal penetration, fisting, rimming, fecal-ingestion (see “What they’ll never teach you in ‘homosexual education“).
3. The Gift of a Mind: We were created with a mind and with certain unique-to-each-of-us aptitudes and skills. We are to honor this awesome gift by keeping our minds pure instead of defiling it with thoughts of lust, greed, and hate. And as the Parable of the Talents reminds us, whether we’ve been given many aptitudes or few, our Creator expects that we put those aptitudes to good use and so multiply the “talents,” instead of being lazy and indolent (“burying the talent in the ground”) or, worse, using our intelligence and skills to ill purpose to deceive, defraud, mislead, destroy, or kill.
4. The Gift of a Soul: More precious than our body and mind is our soul, for our soul is our essence that remains and survives after our bodily death. Do we keep it holy, or do we allow our soul to become darkened and overladen with sin, like that grotesque portrait of Dorian Grey in the attic? (Doubt the soul’s existence? See “Study by 32 scientists show there’s consciousness after death”.)
5. The Gift of Family and Friends: We are each commanded to honor our father and mother. However imperfect they are (as if we are perfect!), they gave birth to us. 
6. The Gifts of Money, Home, and Food: Do we put our money to good and useful purpose? Or do we spend it on frivolous, purposeless indulgences, or worse — to evil (like Warren Buffet giving $millions for abortions)? Do we miserly hoard it, instead of helping those in need and donating to honest productive charities? How many of us waste food, instead of treating food with respect? (It never ceases to amaze me how much food diners leave on their plates in restaurants, when they can take it home in a doggy bag.) Do you know that Americans threw out 35 million tons of food in 2012, the most recent year for which we have statistics. That’s 20% more food than we tossed out in 2000, 50% more than in 1990, and nearly 300% more than in 1960 — which means, despite the preachings about global warming and saving mother Earth, we actually are wasting more food today than before there was an environmental movement.
Two last thoughts about the Parable of the Talents:
1. We are told that if we put our talents to good use, “Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities.” What a humbling thought…. But though our responsibilities will increase, we are also promised great joy: “Come, share your master’s joy.”
2. Jesus warns us that if we’re lazy and not make use of the gifts we were given but instead hide them (“buried in the ground”) and so live a “useless” life, then more will be taken away from us. At the end of our life, we will be thrown “into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.” If this is what will happen to the indolent, I dread to think what the Creator will do to those of us who misuse our gifts for ill purpose. 
Some examples of His astonishing gifts from FOTM’s “Creation” page:

~Eowyn

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0 responses to “Sunday Devotional: How are you using your talents?

  1. The Best I Know How, The Best I Can, To Serve Our Jesus and Fellow Man!

     
  2. The context and the analogy of Matthew 25:14-30 IS NOT about “our” talents! It is about the knowledge in and of the Word of God and a talent is a measure/knowledge of the Word which would be shared through planting seeds (not money, the Word of God)… We are not to hide our knowledge of God’s Word under a rock or a Bushel basket because that doesn’t help God one bit and a person who holds/has the Truth of God’s Word and doesn’t share it, is worthless to God.
    It is impossible for a person to be sealed with the truth of God’s Word in their mind and not share it and it is more valuable than all the gold, all the silver and all the precious gems on earth.

     
  3. Romans 4:5 …
    “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness

     

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