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Talents

Wile Coppinger

4/23/2006

Introduction

Why am I here?  What is my purpose in this life?  These are ancient questions that thinking people have been asking themselves for thousands of years.

Could it be that we are here for God to give us gifts everyday?  Christmas everyday!  Well, this is probably a facetious view of our relationship to the Lord.  But many actually teach this or similar principles.  Maybe it is worthwhile at least looking at this assertion.

Does the Lord give us presents?

In Matthew Chapter 25 verses 14-30 Jesus challenges his listeners with a parable that is about gifts given.

            “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them.  To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability.  Then he went on his journey.  The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more.  So also the one with the two talents gained two more.  But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his maser’s money.

            “After a log time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them.  The man who had received the five talents brought the other five.  ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents.  See, I have gained five more.’

            “His master replied, ‘Well done, god and faithful servant!  You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.  Come and share your master’s happiness!’

            “The man with the two talents also came.  ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’

            “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!  You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.  Come and share your master’s happiness!”

            “Then the man who had received the one talent came.  ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed.  So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground.  See, here is what belongs to you.’

            “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant!  So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed?  Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

            “’Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents.  For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance.  Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.  And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

If this parable was intended for this generation as well as the one’s who heard it from Jesus lips, then I believe the Lord is continually giving us gifts.  Now the problem is recognizing the gifts and then what do we do with them.

What gifts

In this parable the gifts that Jesus spoke of was money.  Is that the only types of gifts that he was referring to?  I don’t believe that he was limiting the gifts that God gives us to just money.  In fact, if you were to look around at churches today I don’t think you will find a huge amount of money according to American standards.  There are indeed some rich congregations and some very rich people that wear the name of Christ.  If you have the talent for making money then you must use it for service of the Lord.

Let’s look at some other categories of gifts.  First the ability to teach, God has given to some a very special talent to be able to explain difficult subjects.  In fact very few can do this well.  So if you have that ability and do not use it, are you like the servant with the one talent?

Some have the ability to sing.  If you have this ability and don’t sing then you may fall into the same judgment as the one talent servant.  The Lord may want you to lead singing.  If that is the case then you must heed the call.

Your talent may be raising children.  This is one talent that you probably won’t recognize because raising children is a very challenging occupation.  If you find yourself in this position you need everything the Lord will give you to be successful in this endeavor.  I believe that if you continually ask the Lord then he will give you the love, patience, perseverance, and strength that you need to be a wonderful parent.

You may have the talent of wisdom.  If you do then leadership is the avenue that you will walk.  You may use this talent in leading a company, family, counseling, or being a friend.

Some gifts of God are not easily seen such as the gift of need.  The Lord may put us in a position of deep need and we may not see this as a blessing.  The blessing comes in the form of giving others a chance to serve the Lord by helping us; however, we must overcome our pride in this instance and ask for help from our brethren.  This is often times hard to do, especially if we find ourselves in this situation after a lifetime of service.  By someone else serving us we develop friendships that would have never occurred otherwise.

There are many other talents that the Lord gives us such as athleticism, enthusiasm, serving spirit, praying, encouraging, and attendance.  Of course there are many other talents that the Lord gives us and I’m sure that I don’t even know them all.

Use of Gifts

What do we do with our talents?  I believe the parable makes the answer to that question crystal clear.  We must use them for the Lord’s service.

If our talent is making money then we need to find ways to use our money in his service.  Likewise all of the talents mentioned before need to be used. 

Admittedly it is not always easy to know what the Lord wants us to do with our talents.  First of course we must be able to recognize what it is that the Lord has given us.  It is very easy today given the daily news reports that we get to know what we don’t have.  Often we focus on those things and miss what the Lord has liberally given us.  We may be without a job; however, the Lord has given you time to use in his service.

With prayer and a watchful eye we are presented with opportunities for service in his Kingdom.  Often the opportunities are there more times than we will recognize.  Moses tried to excuse himself from leading God’s people out of slavery in Egypt.  Gideon wanted several proofs that God was with him before leading his army to victory.  I hope and pray that our relationship with God will be such that we will not only recognize our opportunities but also be willing to serve without hesitation.

We may be asked to use a talent that we either didn’t know that we had or haven’t used before.  Sometimes that gives us a reason to hesitate.  After all we will be out of our comfort zone.  Well we must remember that the Lord was with Moses and Gideon he blessed and guided their efforts and they were successful.  We have been given his Word to help build our faith in God.  The stories of Moses, Gideon, David and others give us the hope that God will be with us every step of the way so that work in his service will always work out for the best.

Source of our Gifts

One thing that can distract us is forgetting where our talents came from.  Upon first recognition of a talent we may think that somehow we were responsible for it.  After all it was through our efforts that we became rich, educated, got the promotion, etc…  That is what we learn as the American way.  Hard work and perseverance will pay off and we will be rewarded.  Where did the health come from to be able to work hard?  Where did the ability to learn come from so that we can get an education?  Where did the athletic talent come from to be able to hone that skill?  Where did we get patience or learn how to love?

God is with us each and every step of our lives and blesses us in so many ways that we get confused and think that some of these blessings are our doing.  Of course when we do this it leads to arrogance and then to sin.  So even being aware of our talents can lead to sin.  We must be watchful at all times.  It’s ironic isn’t it that Satan can even use the gifts of the Lord against us.  The only way to prevent or overcome this is to freely admit that the source of our talents is from the Lord and be ever thankful for them.  We need to pray prayers of thanksgiving everyday for the rich gifts that he gives us.

 

 

 

What is we don’t use our gifts?

What happens if we don’t use the gifts that God gives us?  Well we need to look back at the parable for this answer.  The one that was given one talent went and buried it in the ground.  Why did he do this?  Well if we believe the story then it was fear that made this servant bury the talent.  He knew that his master had a great talent for making money.  He seemed to make money on every business deal but also seemingly money came from even unknown sources to the servant.  It was obvious that he didn’t understand his master’s business and was afraid of failure.

What made the other servants different?  One they both had taken an interest in their master’s business and learned something of the techniques that he used to make money.  Second because of the first reason they had confidence in themselves that they could use the same techniques and make money themselves.  Many things seem hard and mysterious to us when we look from a distance with no knowledge of what we see.

So obviously the one talent servant had taken very little interest in how his master conducted his business and when it came time to be tested he was found wanting.  Yes, that means when the Lord sends opportunity to serve our way then indeed we are being tested.  Usually we think of testing as times or trail, pain, or suffering but indeed being given a gift and an opportunity to serve is also a test.  When a teacher writes a test for their class, one of the hardest types of questions that they can write is a True/False question.  After all you either know the answer or you do not.  And the teacher has to do their very best to make the question fair.  Well what about our test?  When God gives us a talent and then an opportunity to use the talent is it fair?  Of course it is fair the gift was from God and it was for the express purpose of serving in his Kingdom.  It can be nothing but fair for the Lord to expect us to be grateful and use our gifts for the advancement of his Kingdom.

Can we use fear as an excuse?  The answer is no.  Paul reminded the Romans in the eighth chapter that “If God is for us, who can be against us?”  He later said that they would be “more that conquerors.”  If we meditate on phrases such as these how can fear paralyze us?

Now if we show no interest in our father’s business, that is a very different matter.  If we don’t read his word, we don’t meditate on it and we don’t pray to him then we show no interest in his business.  If we don’t have a personal relationship with him everyday then we show no interest in his business.  We need to live for him in order to use our talents for his glory.  Even showing up for services is a step in the right direction because it encourages all the others that are at that service.  We all take strength from each other when we fellowship together in his sight.

If we willfully withhold using our talents, then we may be like the sluggard that Solomon talks about in Proverbs.  If we are lazy then indeed we shouldn’t expect God’s love and his blessings.  We must in all things be good stewards of what he has given us.

Conclusion

To answer the original question the answer is yes the Lord gives us daily blessings.  He loves us, watches over us, and protects us.  The Lord also showers upon us talents daily so we should be watchful and grateful for these great gifts.

We should constantly take stock of what we have and closely examine our talents and be observant for opportunities to use them.  We may miss some opportunities and those will never return but the Lord being the loving father that he is will give us other opportunities.  He will never leave us or quit loving us.  We can gain much by using out talent for we will grow spiritually and be more prepared for an eternity in Heaven.

If you have any need please come forward as we stand and sing the words of encouragement.

 

 

 

 

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