“But I’m not good enough to do that!” How many times do we use this “but” excuse because we think everyone else is better than us at something? Probably a lot…I know I’m guilty! We live in a culture, sadly, that is not the most encouraging and uplifting. We see the successes of others and tend to think that we will never be as good as they are at whatever it is they do. Whenever we have these thoughts, we are belittling the Lord and the unique gifts and talents that He has given to each of us!
I’ve been reading Wild and Free by Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan recently (I would highly recommend it to each of you!). I have been reminded numerous times that each and every person has been gifted with her own gifts by our Heavenly Father! The authors write, “We’ve been given purpose and calling and equipped with individualized gifts for our specified areas of the kingdom of God. We are not trapped in broken identities or expectations. We are wild and free” (p. 112). God gives us good gifts to use for His glory. And the Parable of the Talents has something to say about the use of the gifts we’re given, so let’s look to see what Jesus wants to teach us about this.
Prior to this parable, we read about the Parable of the Ten Virgins. Jesus teaches that we must always be prepared, for we know not when He will return. He furthers the teaching in Matthew 25:14-30 with an illustration about how we are to not only be prepared but also be good stewards of all that God has given us during our time on earth!
God Gives Unique Gifts
In this parable, the master presents each servant with a different number of talents, “to each according to His own ability.” Whatever gifts and talents you have been blessed with have been hand-selected for you by God! Maybe you wish you were more talented in another area, but you have received individual gifts in order to use them to bring God glory. How awesome is it that He allows us to play a part in bringing Him glory! Romans 12:4 echoes this in telling us that each member of the body of Christ does not have the same gift. This is what makes up the body – a wide range of different gifts and abilities.
God Gives Specific Purposes
verses 14, 20-23
Just like each servant was given a certain amount of talents, so have each of you been entrusted with specific purposes by God Himself. As Christians, we all have an individual role to play. In order to uncover the awesome purpose God has created you for, you must be completely committed to Him. Back in Exodus 9:16, the Lord proclaimed that He even had a specific purpose for Pharaoh. No matter who you are or what you think you can or can’t do, you must know that God has given you a specific purpose, and He desires for you to live out that purpose in order to bring glory to His name!
God Gives Good Rewards
verses 20-23, 29
I don’t know about you, but words of encouragement mean the world to me. Just like the servants who stewarded their talents well heard “Well done, good and faithful servant,” I want to steward the gifts God has given me well so that one day I will hear those words from Him! It is an absolute privilege to be employed as servants of God. Maybe a physical paycheck doesn’t show up in our mailbox every other week, but the rewards we have in Christ Jesus are far greater than any amount of money we could ever receive. The master also explained to his servants who stewarded their talents well that he would entrust even more to them. The rewards we have in Christ Jesus are based on faithfulness, not results! This is great news! God does not reward us based on how many people we lead to Him. Rather, He rewards for our very best effort to reflect Him in all areas of life when we live as a vessel for Him.
We must keep in mind, though, that these rewards are not the same as worldly rewards. If we work for Him only to receive rewards, then we are missing the whole point. Working and serving out of love for the Lord will be our greatest reward next to spending eternity with Him. To reiterate this, the authors of Wild and Free write, “It’s not that we have to live for God; it’s that we get to live for God. It’s not that we have to serve Him; it’s that we get to serve Him. It’s not that He wants more from us; it’s that He wants more for us” (p. 110). God wants more for us; He loves us that much! What reward could be greater than that?
God Gives Clear Warnings
God has lavished upon each of us specific talents and gifts in order that we use them. When we choose not to acknowledge His abundant blessings and gifts, we are choosing not to acknowledge Him. Because God is a jealous God, and rightfully so, there are consequences for those who choose to waste opportunities He gives us. This passage clearly states that the servant who chose not to steward his talent well lost everything he had. Likewise, when we ignore what God has placed right in front of us to use for His glory, we might just lose the abundance of gifts He has given us. This should not scare us but instead motivate and challenge us to live our lives completely surrendered to the Lord working and serving Him in the ways that He has individually crafted us to do so. Just as Colossians 3:17 declares that we should do everything for the glory of God, so should we use our talents and gifts He has showered upon us out of love and devotion to Him for His name and His name alone!
Life would be really easy if God wrote each of us a letter explaining all the details of our future and what we were supposed to do with our lives. Although it would be easy, it would be way less exciting and require less faith and trust in the Lord. Even if you don’t know exactly what you are good at and how you can be used to further the Kingdom, always remember that you have a specific purpose (to glorify God), and the Lord will eventually reveal the “how” to you as long as you continue seeking Him. Connolly and Morgan write, “Likewise, as daughters of God who are redeemed in Christ, we’re not just ornaments to sit pretty on a shelf. We are pronounced as having purpose, conceived with an objective, given gifts and callings, and put on earth to help move the kingdom of God forward” (p. 109). Maybe this means you have to try a few different things to know what you are good at, and that is absolutely okay! Whatever you do, work for the Lord and point all glory back to Him!
From the Parable of the Talents, we learn that we have all been endowed with unique gifts, specific purposes, good rewards, and that God does indeed give us clear warnings as to what can happen if we choose not to steward our gifts and talents well. My prayer is that each of you know and continue to learn just how special you are in God’s eyes. He gave YOU gifts that He knew YOU could use to bring glory to Him! Never forget that, ever. That is just a small glimpse of how incredibly much the God who created you, loves you!
God, thank You so much that every good gift comes from You and that You have chosen specific ones for me. I pray that I will bring You glory in the ways that I steward and use the gifts You have blessed me with. May I be faithful to You, as You have and will always be faithful to me.
1 Peter 4:10
ESV Study Bible
Wild and Free by Connolly & Morgan