The parable of the talents accorded in the Bible (Matthew 25:14–30) fascinates me; it makes me ponder at how often we are quick to judge people especially those whose lives we get to read about, yet fail to see and acknowledge the similarities in what we do. Because of the length of this post, I have written it in two parts. So here we go…
The parable narrates the story of a rich man who went on a journey. Before leaving, he called his three servants and gave each of them a talent. To one servant, he gave 5 talents, to another he gave 2 talents and to the third servant he gave 1 talent. The first two servants went ahead, invested in their talents and gained interest, while the third servant hid his talent by digging it into the ground until his masters’ return. On the masters’ return, he was impressed with his first two servants obviously because their talents yielded increase but was disappointed with the third servant and banished him from the kingdom. This scenario reminds me of a saying that ‘your gift will make a way for you’. The saying is true and it did work for the first two servants who put their talents to use and got rewarded.
Most people who hear this story express and relinquish anger and disgust at the third servant, they blame him for not taking action or for being greedy and not being contented with what he was given and I wouldn’t blame you for thinking so because I once had that notion until it dawned on me that many of us are like the third servant and do things similarly to him.
I read a book called ‘The Gift’ by Ron Reynolds. According to Ron “inside of every human is a gift to be used and shared, it’s a call to help, to save or to rescue; a talent to be nourished or an idea that needs to grow”. Back to the story, the first two servants nourished their talents and that led to more talent deposited to them. I wouldn’t say putting their talents to use was easy as I’m pretty sure they went through phases like doubts, unbelief and fear. None the less they gave it a thought and went into action rather than sitting and wallowing in contemplation like most people do forgetting that the circumstance of today was as a result of yesterday’s thoughts. The third servant, on the other hand, wallowed in envy and jealousy. He didn’t realise that he could have been a hero since rooted in every man is a talent or a gift that needs to be shared.
The irony of this story is even though sometimes we are aware of what to do (I say ‘sometimes’ because often times we are clueless) we often get complacent and act foolishly like the third servant did. While pondering on this, I assume the third servant acted the way he did as a result of fear because fear comes in different forms. For example, we fear what the outcome of our actions might be or what others would think about us and this is often a contributing factor to holding one back from being productive. Aside fear, we get lazy, procrastinate and shy away from responsibilities and forget that everyone is embedded with a gift or a talent and that heroes are ordinary people who rise up to the challenge of life but do not recognise they’ve got the strength embedded in them until someone shows them or as I like to put it, until they take up the challenge to find out for themselves.
Another factor that could prevent us from using our gift is what we tend to believe. For instance, many people think they have nothing to contribute to the world and I really like how Ron Reynolds puts it. He said ‘a gift is to be used and shared’ in other words, a talent is not to be left dormant or buried. We need to rise up and understand that by not using the gift deposited in us either from birth or the ones developed over time, we only limit ourselves to several opportunities yet to unfold, opportunities to learn, grow and make an impact in our generation and those gifts will lie dormant, rusting away if they are not being exercised.
I believe every individual has been deposited with a talent and these talents varies from gifts of eloquence – to speak in public and talk to nations, encouraging and healing rather than speaking ill and gossiping about others, it could be the gift of teaching- being a coach, a mentor, a counsellor, an actor, a poet, a singer, an artist, a writer, lots and lots of talents. The amazing thing is, these talents have been set in place for us and we wouldn’t be brought to earth if they weren’t. I strongly believe we’ve been created to reign and where we reign is where our Creator reigns and he would only breathe on what we attempt to improve.