I was listening to a CD in the car yesterday I haven’t heard in a while. I had the sunroof and windows open, the radio cranked, and I was giving ol’ Bono an enthusiastic accompaniment. I can really sing. By which, I mean that I enjoy it: in the car, in the shower, in the rows at church…. I’m not saying anybody else enjoys it, mind you, but I have a good time. As much as I enjoy it, though, singing is definitely NOT one of my talents. I don’t need Simon Cowell to tell me to keep my day job.
I must admit that I have been jealous of the musically talented at points in my life. The truth is, it’s no good to get caught up in that. God gives everybody some talent, but not in the same things and not equally. The real question is: Are you using what talent God did give you for His glory and His kingdom? Do you use your talent to serve others or do you only serve yourself? Are you even using the talent God gave you? Did you know the English word talent comes from a New Testament parable?
The parable Jesus tells goes like this: There was a wealthy man who was going on a journey who called three of his servants to him and gave each of them some of his wealth to watch over.
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 a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.Now after a long time the master came and settled accounts with them. The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’ – Matthew 25:15-28
How easy it is to resent God when he blesses others with more or different talents. The message I take from the parable, though, is that we are all given talent to some degree, and we are expected to make the most of our talent — however little — for God.
So maybe I’m not musically gifted or particularly athletic. I don’t have the charisma and natural leadership that comes so easy for some. But I’m pretty smart. I’m even-keeled and can see the big picture. I’m relatively articulate and thoughtful. The point is that God can use the talents I do have if I will put them to work for Him.
Paul told the Romans:
We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. – Romans 12:6-8 NIV
I can serve and teach and encourage and show mercy. I can work hard. I can love others. I can show grace. What I can’t do is resent God for the gifts I was not given and retreat into a life of self pity, self consolation and self indulgence.
I’m no Bono, but I am still immensely talented.