Read: Matthew 25:14-15 |
At a local Talent Show, the first contestant played a saxophone solo. The mesmerized audience cheered wildly and gave him a standing ovation. Shortly after he walked off the stage, a very prominent individual in the music industry offered him a recording contract, and a chance to play with some of his jazz heroes.
The second contestant read a poem she wrote. Her words moved the audience to tears. When she was done, the audience cheered enthusiastically. Shortly after she walked off the stage, a local newspaper offered her a job writing poetry and the opportunity to publish more of her work.
The third contestant walked onto the stage carrying a guitar. “Well,” he stammered, “I had thought I would play this guitar my father made for me. However, there are other players so much better than me. Thus, I didn’t put anything together.”
The crowd fell silent. Shortly after he walked off the stage, his father seized the guitar and gave it to the saxophone player saying, “Take this and use it so that others may hear the music this instrument makes.” [Author unknown]
The illustration parallels the three roles in the parable found in Matthew 25:14-30. The father is like the man going on a journey, which represents Christ. The contestants are like the servants, which represent us as believers. Like the parable, unused talents are taken away and given to those who will use them.
What does “ability” mean?
The gifts to each person were unequal because some had more. However, as the parable points out, they were granted based on “ability”.
Abilities, what are those? In the Greek Dictionary, ability translates to “dunamis” – might, power, and marvelous works. It speaks to the power to achieve by applying the Lord’s inherent abilities granted to us.
Ability! We are all born with ability. God has granted inherent abilities whether we are born into the richest family in the world or the poorest – we have ability. Whether we are a believer or not, we still have ability.
As we grow, with the aid of our parents, extended family and schools we discover our abilities. In turn, we can choose to develop our ability into a skill. As we gain skill and training, our ability transforms into a talent.
Ability leads to skill, then talent
Our ability when combined with practice, perseverance and character pleases God when it is applied to further His plan for our lives. (Jeremiah 29:11; Psalm 40:5) We have to recognize that our devoted effort determines the boundaries of success with our talents. Our ability to see and work through the daily obstacles and yet still envision the big picture can fuel our trajectory towards excellence.
Our challenge is to dedicate ourselves to use the talents we possess without comparing our gifts with others as the third contestant in the Talent Show did. After all as author Henry van Dyke said, “… the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.“
1. Discover –
A. Write down all of your abilities on a piece of paper and pray over it.
B. Ask God and your friends to help you think of abilities you might possess. Re-visit things that you used to be interested in but stopped pursuing for whatever reason.
2. Develop –
A. Pick a latent or lingering ability that God leads you to re-discover. Persistently practice it. If necessary, sign up for a class to pursue it.
B. Try to avoid comparing your ability to others by simply enjoying what you do and dedicating the effort to the glory of God. Over time, the ability will develop into a skill and then a talent.
3. Demonstrate –
A. For abilities, skills and talents you already possess, how are you using them to give God glory?
B. Share your plan to use your existing skills and talents and to develop more with a prayer partner.