When I joined the ministry, I was not sure what I would find and discover but I have learned since this date that it has exceeded my wildest expectations. One of the most important lessons that I have learned is to let go and simply trust God and this is what we learn from the Parable of the Talents in Matthew Chapter 25.
This is a recent study that I was a part of and I learned so much. Christ teaches us lessons in the most simplest ways so that our limited minds are able to comprehend these lessons and with the Parable of the Talents, while monetary talents is used for this lesson, we can substitute physical talents and the principle and concepts are still the same.
In the teaching, Christ tells of a land owner who leaves his house to travel so he leaves his property in charge to his servants. The amount of money left to his servants, as per my research, was a lot of money and probably more than a thousand US dollars in modern figures. Each servant is left a certain amount, each one different, according to their abilities. We are informed that one servant receives five, another two, and the last received one.
Two of these servants earned a large return, or profit, on their initial investments (trading but the servant who received just one talent hid his talent in the ground and was unable to produce any return. When the rich man returns, he rewards the two servants who made a profit but punishes the one who hid his. Of course, this teaching is not about solely financial investments as it can be applied to many different areas of our lives but the bigger lesson, regardless of which concept used is God gives each of us different talents, skills, and/or abilities and He expects us to use them.
However, many of us try to hide our talents because we are afraid of something. Maybe its failure that we are afraid of and I have been here. Before I wrote my first book, it had been on my heart for a long time and I knew God was telling me to write it but I did not because I had other ideas and priorities but also, because I was afraid of not having success with it or of striking out. If we learn anything from the greatest baseball player of all time, Babe Ruth, it’s that we cannot be afraid. Rather, we need to adopt the mindset that he lived by: “Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.”
The rich man in the story does not give the specific talents because he favored one servant over another but rather, because of his ability: “And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey” (Matthew 25:15).When we hear according to his ability, we should not view this as God ignoring those with less but rather, God gave us a specific talent and He expects us to use these talents to help others and to glorify Him. Just because we have less money or a smaller ministry or fewer responsibilities does not mean that our impact or our worth is any less.
When we think about the penalties or punishments for not profiting, we should view this as a concept about actual punishment but rather, from a perspective of not wasting one life. The punishment for wasting one’s life includes missed opportunities, squandered gifts, wasted time and precious moments, and taking away glorifying God from potentially many others and such missed investments far outweigh mediocre or below average business returns. Honestly, what does it benefit us if we gain a lot of money but lose our soul: “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26).
From this study, I have learned that we should embrace what God has given us rather than running from it, hiding it from the world, or fearing it. Moses is a great example of this as he did not think he could stand up to Pharaoh. Moses had a stuttering problem and the conflict that he would soon be in would require him to not just speak to the Pharaoh but be demanding. Moses was not confident in his abilities and he even angered God by not complying: “And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart” (Exodus 4:14). There are many other stories in scripture that show us the same concept that we are to embrace our gifts rather than run from them not because we have great abilities to overcome but rather, God gives us all that we need to achieve the task at hand as He equips the called!