Tag Archives: Talents

A Matter of Comparison

As humans, we have a tendency to compare ourselves to others. Either we see someone with a talent that we admire and wish we had, or we see someone who is sinning in a way that we are proud we don’t.

I admit that when I hear other women in church or in my Bible study sing in a beautiful soprano voice I feel a little jealous—okay, a lot jealous—that I cannot sing very well.

And when I see greedy, self-centered, immoral, and wicked people on TV I sometimes feel a twinge of superiority because I don’t act as they do.

But God has not called me to compare myself to others, whether it makes me feel less than them or better than them. It doesn’t matter if I don’t have the talents that others have, because I have the talents that God gave me. It doesn’t matter if I don’t sin in the same way as others, because I still fall short of the glory of God.

There are only two people in this world that I should ever compare myself to. The first is my former self—solely for the purpose of realizing what the Lord Jesus has done in my heart, how He has made me a new creation, and how I have used the talents He has given me. The second is Jesus—for the purpose of knowing what the gold standard of required behavior is, what I am striving towards with God’s help.

So who are you comparing yourself to today? What talent that God has given you are you neglecting because you are wishing for the talent He gave to someone else? What sin that God wants to save you from are not seeing in yourself because you are too busy focusing on the sins of others?

Won’t you change your focus with me today and keep your eyes on Jesus? He is the author and perfector of our faith, the source of our talents, and the power to overcome all our sins.

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What Are You Doing With Your Talents?

The subject of talents seems to have come up a lot lately. Or more specifically, the subject of my writing talent. Several people have commented on my blog that I am talented. My response is always that my writing talent is a gift from God, and that I have seen that the more I use that talent to glorify God the more He increases that talent.

Then last Sunday our interim pastor preached a sermon based on the Parable of the Talents as recorded in Matthew 25:14-30 (NIV). I love this parable, and our pastor made a couple of interesting observations that I want to share (though not necessarily in the order he shared them because I forgot to take notes – note taking is not one of my greatest talents).

First, he pointed us back to the parable immediately before this one, and that is the Parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25:1-13 (NIV). The lamp oil referred to in this earlier parable represents the Holy Spirit. To be ready to receive, use, and multiply the talents that God gives us, we must be filled with and rely on the Holy Spirit.

Second, although the Parable of the Talents refers to money that was given to each of the servants, Jesus isn’t really talking about money. He is talking about whatever the Lord entrusts to us, including our spiritual gifts and natural talents.

Third, he pointed out that each of the three servants in the Parable of the Talents was given a different number of talents, “each according to his ability.” Matthew 25:15 (NIV). Here Jesus is saying that God gives different talents to different people. We need to use the talents God has given us, and not always be looking at others and wishing we had their talents. Although I have a talent for writing, there are other things (such as singing and caring for the sick) that I don’t have the greatest talent for. Rather than being jealous of those who have talents I don’t, I should be thankful for the blessing they are and for the talents I have been given.

Fourth, if God gives us a talent and we use it to His glory, He will give us the ability to succeed. It may not be the kind of success the world tells us to seek. We may not gain material possessions or status or fame. But we will succeed at furthering the kingdom of God.

Finally, when we use our talents as God has called us to, they will be multiplied. The kingdom of God will be increased and we will be blessed. Then our Lord will say:

‘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!’ Matthew 25:23 (NIV).

But when you refuse to use our talents for His glory, in the end they will be taken away and given to those who have been faithful with God’s gifts.

So what are you doing with the talents God has given you? You do have some, you know, even if you think you don’t. Are you hiding your talents in a hole in the ground? Or are you using them to the best of your ability? If you’ve hidden them, I urge you to go dig them up now and start using them for God’s glory before the Master returns and it’s too late.

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Filed under Faith, Jesus, Life, postaday2011, Service

On Being Thankful

With the Thanksgiving holiday fast approaching, I’ve been thinking again about how important it is to be grateful for what I have. It shouldn’t take a holiday for us to be thankful. Numerous times scripture calls for us to be thankful in all situations.

Today I am thankful for the many people in my life, especially my husband and my son. But I am also thankful for the rest of my family and the many gifts they have (and I’m not talking about the kind of gifts you can wrap up in pretty paper – that comes later in the year).

My husband, for example, has the gift of loyalty and responsibility. When something is his job to do, he will be sure to get it done to the best of his ability. That is a really great gift and character trait to have.

My son has the gift of caring and compassion (something you don’t always see in a 14-year-old boy). Last Saturday he got up and made me a fresh pot of coffee because he didn’t want me to have to drink the old, cold stale coffee that was left over from earlier in the morning. He has always had a concern for others and the gift of hospitality. This is also a great gift and character trait to have.

My sister has the gifts of creativity and organization. She has planned and organized a wonderful spa weekend for our older sister’s 60th birthday, including handmade invitations, gift bags, and a surprise (I think it’s a – oh, I guess I better not say) for the rest of us. She scheduled all our spa appointments and made all the arrangements, including giving those of us who are less organized small assignments. This is truly a wonderful gift and character trait to have.

My father-in-law has the gift of being able to fix and make things, as well as the gift of patience. Recently he and my mother-in-law came to our house for a weekend visit. In a brief afternoon he was able to fix our grandfather clock that hasn’t worked in probably ten years. We sent it out last year to a clock repairman, but when we put it back together it only ran for a few hours. My father-in-law was able to figure out what the problem was and fix it. By the way, he is the one who built the clock in the first place. This is a terrific gift and character trait.

I could go on and on, cataloging all the gifts of my family members, and I probably should lest someone feel left out. But I just wanted to illustrate how everyone has gifts to be thankful for. When we benefit from the gifts and talents of our family and friends, we should be thankful. I know I am, and not just because Thanksgiving is looming around the corner.

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