Tag Archives: Parable of the Talents

Sunday Devotional: How have you used the 'talents' God gave you?

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 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 “talents” clearly means “gifts”.
So what “gifts” has our Creator given each of us? — all given generously, bountifully, and gratuitously, for 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 am using them. Have I used them to good or 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 piercings, tattoos, 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 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, hurt, 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:

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 did not elect abortion but 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 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? 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 (“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 evil.

May the peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you, and may you make full use of the gifts He gave you, and bloom like this rose!

~Eowyn

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How smart or stupid is your country?

I.Q. or Intelligence Quotient is a score derived from one of several standardized tests designed to assess human intelligence.

Like most natural human attributes, such as height, weight, or beauty, intelligence as measured by IQ tests falls into a normal distribution or bell-shaped curve, wherein the average (mean, median, and mode) score bisects the population into two equal halves, with most people clustering at or around the average, and few people in the curve’s two extreme ends.

The normal distribution curve can be divided by standard deviation (SD) units up or down the curve.

In the IQ normal distribution curve:

  • Tthe average raw score is 100.
  • Each SD unit is comprised of 15 IQ points.
  • Approximately 95% of the population have an IQ between 70 and 130, which is within two standard deviations ± of the mean.
  • An IQ score of 145 is considered to be genius-level because, as you can see from the graph above, such an individual has an IQ that’s very rare. Only 0.1% of the human population have an IQ higher than 145; or, put another way, if your IQ is 145, you are more intelligent than 99.9% of humans.
  • In contrast, individuals with IQ of 70 or below are severely cognitively challenged. In non-politically correct terms, they are morons (IQ of 51 to 70), imbeciles (IQ of 21-50), and idiots (IQ of 0 to 20). Please make a note of this.

To convert a raw IQ score into a percentile ranking, click here.

IQ scores have been shown to be associated or correlated with such factors as morbidity (health and disease), parental social status, and biological parental IQ. The inheritability of intelligence is politically controversial because the average IQ of certain racial groups — blacks (in the U.S. and even more in Africa), “native” Americans, and Hispanics — persistently are found to be lower than the human population average of 100. The consensus among scientists is that heredity and environment account for about 80% and 20%, respectively, of human intelligence.

While IQ is not a perfect measure of human intelligence (as if any measure is), IQ scores have proven to be good correlates and predictors of educational achievement, special needs, job performance, and income.

Below is a list of the average IQ scores of the world’s countries. The scores came from:

  • Work carried out earlier this decade by 2 scientists — British psychologist Richard Lynn and Finnish political scientist Tatu Vanhanen — who analysed IQ studies from 113 countries;
  • Subsequent research work by Dutch psychologist Jelte Wicherts.

In the list below, countries are ranked in the order from those with the highest average national IQ scores, to those with the lowest. Here’s the color code:

  • Blue: countries in North America
  • Green: Central and South America, Caribbean islands
  • Pink: Europe (East, West, Central) and Russia
  • Pink & Brown: Eurasia
  • Purple: Middle-East (incl. some countries in North Africa)
  • Brown: Asia (East, Central, South)
  • Turquoise: Australia, New Zealand, Pacific islands
  • Red: Africa
Rank
——–
Country
———————–
%
————-
1 Singapore 108
2 South Korea 106
3 Japan 105
4 Italy 102
5 Iceland 101
5 Mongolia 101
6 Switzerland 101
7 Austria 100
7 China 100
7 Luxembourg 100
7 Netherlands 100
7 Norway 100
7 United Kingdom 100
8 Belgium 99
8 Canada 99
8 Estonia 99
8 Finland 99
8 Germany 99
8 New Zealand 99
8 Poland 99
8 Sweden 99
9 Andorra 98
9 Australia 98
9 Czech Republic 98
9 Denmark 98
9 France 98
9 Hungary 98
9 Latvia 98
9 Spain 98
9 United States 98
10 Belarus 97
10 Malta 97
10 Russia 97
10 Ukraine 97
11 Moldova 96
11 Slovakia 96
11 Slovenia 96
11 Uruguay 96
12 Israel 95
12 Portugal 95
13 Armenia 94
13 Georgia 94
13 Kazakhstan 94
13 Romania 94
13 Vietnam 94
14 Argentina 93
14 Bulgaria 93
15 Greece 92
15 Ireland 92
15 Malaysia 92
16 Brunei 91
16 Cambodia 91
16 Cyprus 91
16 Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 91
16 Lithuania 91
16 Sierra Leone 91
16 Thailand 91
17 Albania 90
17 Bosnia and Herzegovina 90
17 Chile 90
17 Croatia 90
17 Kyrgyzstan 90
17 Turkey 90
18 Cook Islands 89
18 Costa Rica 89
18 Laos 89
18 Mauritius 89
18 Serbia 89
18 Suriname 89
19 Ecuador 88
19 Mexico 88
19 Samoa 88
20 Azerbaijan 87
20 Bolivia 87
20 Brazil 87
20 Guyana 87
20 Indonesia 87
20 Iraq 87
20 Myanmar (Burma) 87
20 Tajikistan 87
20 Turkmenistan 87
20 Uzbekistan 87
21 Kuwait 86
21 Philippines 86
21 Seychelles 86
21 Tonga 86
22 Cuba 85
22 Eritrea 85
22 Fiji 85
22 Kiribati 85
22 Peru 85
22 Trinidad and Tobago 85
22 Yemen 85
23 Afghanistan 84
23 Bahamas, The 84
23 Belize 84
23 Colombia 84
23 Iran 84
23 Jordan 84
23 Marshall Islands 84
23 Micronesia, Federated States of 84
23 Morocco 84
23 Nigeria 84
23 Pakistan 84
23 Panama 84
23 Paraguay 84
23 Saudi Arabia 84
23 Solomon Islands 84
23 Uganda 84
23 United Arab Emirates 84
23 Vanuatu 84
23 Venezuela 84
24 Algeria 83
24 Bahrain 83
24 Libya 83
24 Oman 83
24 Papua New Guinea 83
24 Syria 83
24 Tunisia 83
25 Bangladesh 82
25 Dominican Republic 82
25 India 82
25 Lebanon 82
25 Madagascar 82
25 Zimbabwe 82
26 Egypt 81
26 Honduras 81
26 Maldives 81
26 Nicaragua 81
27 Barbados 80
27 Bhutan 80
27 El Salvador 80
27 Kenya 80
28 Guatemala 79
28 Sri Lanka 79
28 Zambia 79
29 Congo, Democratic Republic of the 78
29 Nepal 78
29 Qatar 78
30 Comoros 77
30 South Africa 77
31 Cape Verde 76
31 Congo, Republic of the 76
31 Mauritania 76
31 Senegal 76
32 Mali 74
32 Namibia 74
33 Ghana 73
34 Tanzania 72
35 Central African Republic 71
35 Grenada 71
35 Jamaica 71
35 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 71
35 Sudan 71
36 Antigua and Barbuda 70
36 Benin 70
36 Botswana 70
36 Rwanda 70
36 Togo 70
37 Burundi 69
37 Cote d’Ivoire 69
37 Ethiopia 69
37 Malawi 69
37 Niger 69
38 Angola 68
38 Burkina Faso 68
38 Chad 68
38 Djibouti 68
38 Somalia 68
38 Swaziland 68
39 Dominica 67
39 Guinea 67
39 Guinea-Bissau 67
39 Haiti 67
39 Lesotho 67
39 Liberia 67
39 Saint Kitts and Nevis 67
39 Sao Tome and Principe 67
40 Gambia, The 66
41 Cameroon 64
41 Gabon 64
41 Mozambique 64
42 Saint Lucia 62
43 Equatorial Guinea 59
North Korea N/A

The average IQ of No. 43: Equatorial Guinea is 59, which means the average Equatorial Guinean is a moron (IQ of 51 to 70).

Let that thought and its implications sink in . . . .

I cannot emphasize enough that the above IQ scores are national AVERAGES, which means the scores are not representative of EVERYONE in those countries. There are intelligent and stupid people in every country and every race — which is why we should never generalize from these average IQ scores to INDIVIDUAL members of a country or race. Instead, we should treat everyone we meet as INDIVIDUALS, not as members of some race or country.

Lastly, many years ago I learned a very important lesson from the department secretary of the university in which I was teaching. She was not the brightest bulb: I estimate her IQ to be slightly below the population average of 100, probably in the 90s. But she was kind and sweet, a loyal friend and a genuinely good soul.

The lesson I learned from Kathy is that intelligence is greatly overrated. If I had to choose, I will always pick virtue over a high intelligence. In fact, there is no one as dangerous and lethal as a highly intelligent but evil person. After all, Adolf Hitler no doubt was highly intelligent.

Whatever your IQ is, it was a gratuitous gift from our Creator. What is important is not how gifted we are but what we do with the intellect and intelligence He so generously gave us. Just remember the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30): To some He gave great intelligence and many talents; to others, He gave only a few. But each of us, whether genius or imbecile, one day will be called to account for what we did with the talents we were given.

~Eowyn 

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The Meaning of Life, from a 3rd grader

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Y6YVLXprII]

Matthew 25:14-30

The Parable of the Talents

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. 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. Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.
“So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ 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.’ He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘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.’
“Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘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. Look, there you have what is yours.’
“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.
‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

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