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Talents, Excuses & Eternity

Updated on August 4, 2014

Song & Dance

Excuses for doing nothing are a dime a dozen, aren’t they?

I’m too old—I’m too young—I’m not educated—I’m too educated—I’m too busy—I’m not good enough—I could never do that—what, who, me?

We’re all manufacturers of one kind or another—we all make something. Some make good—some make trouble—some make excuses.

It’s been my experience that those who are efficient at making excuses are seldom good for anything—except of course, an entertaining song and dance to justify the whys and wherefores of their evasion.

Be All You Can Be was the U.S. Army’s recruiting slogan for over twenty years. A variation of it ought to be a daily duty for believers in Jesus Christ: Be All God Meant You To Be. Consider the following parable, remembering that these are the red-letter words of Jesus.

Matthew 25:14-30 - NIV

Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.

After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. “Master,” he said, “you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.”

His master replied, “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!”

The man with the two talents also came. “Master,” he said, “you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.”

His master replied, “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!”

Then the man who had received the one talent came. “Master,” he said, “I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.”

His master replied, “You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Adventure Or Obligation

The parable of the talents tells us that God creates, and he calls us to be co-workers in the unfolding of history. God invests in us and expects a return on that investment.

In the story, the man setting out on a journey represents God. It is God who owns the world—we are his servants. An ancient singer of songs understood this completely: “The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.”

In the days of Jesus, a talent was an amount of money. However—and this is a huge HOWEVER—the underlying principle goes far beyond our handling of cash. The word talent, referring to a skill or ability, came into our language from this anecdote.

The question we each must ask: What has God placed in our custody?

We may not appreciate the truthful answer: Everything we have and everything we are belongs to God. EVERYTHING—our abilities—each precious moment of every day of every week of every month of every year we live—our material and financial resources—our relationships with loved ones and friends—the grace of God’s salvation in Jesus Christ. All of this is entrusted to us by God. We are responsible for what we do with it—God has commissioned us to do kingdom work.

That should excite us right down to our socks, yet how often are we like the one-talent man? Instead of being an adventure our faith becomes a heavy chain of obligations. The one-talent believer clings to the status quo and fails to see how much he or she is needed, and the result is deadly.

Actually no believer is one-talented: We can all pray—we can all come alongside others and be active listeners—we can all share our faith—we can all share our gifts—we can all serve. God calls all of us to realize the full potential of our lives.

It is not the critic who
counts; not the man who 
points out how the strong 
man stumbled, or where the
doer of deeds could have 
done them better. The credit
belongs to the man who is 
actually in the arena, whose
faces is marked by dust and
sweat and blood; who strives
valiantly; who knows the
great enthusiasms, the great
devotions, who spends himself
on a worthy cause, who at the
best knows in the end the 
triumph of high achievement,
and who at the worst, if he
fails, at least he fails while
daring greatly, so that his
place shall never be with 
those timid souls who know
neither victory or defeat.
   ~Theodore Roosevelt~


In the interesting tale Jesus told, one servant received five talents, another one got two talents, and a third was given only one talent. When the time came for an accounting no one was judged on an absolute scale—they were judged in accordance to what they had been allotted.

It’s not what we have or what we have gained that is important—it’s really about what we have done in relation to what we have been given. God wants us to be action oriented.

The first two individuals had a completely different view of the master than the one-talent servant. They saw him as a person who’d appreciate bold and daring endeavors. If they gave it their best shot and failed, he would be supportive and understanding.

The one-talent servant viewed the master as calloused—should he lose the talent the master would be unmerciful because he was a hard man.

What image do we have of God that guides our behavior?

Do we see God as a hard taskmaster or a loving Father? Our perceptions of God’s character will affect our behavior.

God is not a hard and tough old boss who is mean-spirited and unforgiving. Neither is he a benevolent sugar-daddy. His character is a perfect balance of love, mercy, and justice—which is often incomprehensible to finite human minds.


This teaching makes it very clear that we are accountable to God. With accountability come consequences. The ultimate point here is that talents are granted to us for a reason. We are to develop and use what God has given us to do kingdom work.

If an open door is not stepped through, it may get slammed shut. As stewards of God’s gifts we are called to live in courageous faith—we are to give of our best to the Master—we are to redeem the time—we are to make the most of every opportunity.

As caretakers of God’s goodness to us we are to be busy doing something with our faith. We are not to make excuses or whine about what we don’t have—we are to use to the utmost what God has given us.

Talents are just like muscles—if we don’t use them, we lose them. Muscles atrophy and get flabby—talents rust, fade, and lose their edge.

The servants given five and two talents used their talents, and received again as much for the efforts. The one-talent servant refused to do anything with his and lost not only his talent, but his life.

Is your faith-journey an adventure or a chain of obligations?

See results

Contemplate Eternity

It should be noted that throughout Matthew 25 Jesus was talking about what will happen at the end of the age—when Christ comes again to judge both the living and the dead.

Through the uncomfortable light of this parable we see the certain standard by which we’ll be judged. It will not be so much a question of what we’ve gained or lost, but rather, what we’ve ventured for the sake of the Master.

We are supposed to be striving forward with our perspective firmly focused on eternity—it’s about eternity, stupid. The temporary must be interpreted by the bright, shining beauty of eternity—the eternity factor truly ought to overwhelmingly motivate us to faithfulness.

The person who sallies forth to sow God’s gifts will reap a return, so the challenge is always the same: How can we best use the time, talents, and treasures that unconditionally belong to God? What are those things that the Owner of all things has assigned to us? Are we being all God intends us to be? Are we in the process of becoming all God meant us to be?

Or are we too busy making excuses?


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    • Ken R. Abell profile image

      Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      CyberShelley - Thank you. You are very kind. Blessings.

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 5 years ago

      It's always inspiring to read one of your stories. The words just seem to flow so effortlessly from you. Thank you for the article. Voted up, interesting and useful.

    • Ken R. Abell profile image

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      kids-toy-box - Thank you stopping in & sharing. I appreciate your observations & words of affirmation.

    • kids-toy-box profile image

      kids-toy-box 7 years ago

      Can't belive there actually Excuses for Dummies-but this is true we do make so many excuses yet where there is will there is a way to get things done.

      I think this can be related into so many aspects of life..excuses by politicians to excuses from the man on the street...we have the power to change our circumstances. By Gods grace if we have the will, we can achieve anything we set our mind to. This is an inspiring hub.

    • Ken R. Abell profile image

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      izetti - Thank you. Glad you stopped in & enjoyed the visit. Peace & blessings to you.

    • izettl profile image

      Laura Izett 7 years ago from The Great Northwest

      I love this hub, great job! "Be all you were meant to be" is terrific. Even though I 've never been in the army- not even close- I've repeated their motto to myself as a positive affirmation, but now I will use the other phrase. I like it much better.

    • Ken R. Abell profile image

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      CMCastro - You're welcome. Thank you for sharing here. Peace & much encouragement to you.

    • CMCastro profile image

      Christina M. Castro 7 years ago from Baltimore,MD USA

      I should have read this hub years ago, and after I wrote my recent hub about my music, I realize I was making excuses all along. I know that God will lead and direct me into the right path. Thanks for your encouragement, Ken. I really appreciate the support. :)

    • Ken R. Abell profile image

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Kaie Arwen - You're welcome. Thanks for stopping in & sharing. I'm glad you enjoyed the visit.

    • Kaie Arwen profile image

      Kaie Arwen 7 years ago

      This was wonderful............ thank you! I think my purpose changes regularly.......... and yet consistently stays the same. I know what God has given me; I cherish the gifts, and I know what he expects from me in return.......... I may not always do it right, but that's okay.......... he doesn't expect me to; he knows I'm not perfect!

      I enjoyed this........... thank you

    • Ken R. Abell profile image

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Dusty - Thanks for stopping in & sharing heartfelt words of testimony & challenge. Blessings & much encouragement to you.

    • 50 Caliber profile image

      50 Caliber 7 years ago from Arizona

      Ken, I liked the presentation of this parable from Christ. It is one that weighs on my mind. I think we have all been given a "Talent" be it in the form of possessions, but most certainly the most valuable, at least in my thought, simply "life". It bothers me most as I often feel by not interacting with society, I've found an oasis of peace, and it is all I could ask for personally, but I fear it makes me like the talent buried in the ground, I feel I'm not even gaining interest just as the parable points out. It is a place I need to concentrate more prayer. This hub reminded me again to reflect on "what purpose do I serve?" I still am shy even a hint on what one can accomplish from here, other than enjoying the days of my life, I often feel selfish for parting from the world.

      Thanks for the reminder of my position and the need to search out the answer so I might rest easy, as my yoke is easy and the burden is light, I feel something is missing, Dusty

    • Ken R. Abell profile image

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      You're welcome, CM. Thanks for stopping in.

    • carolina muscle profile image

      carolina muscle 7 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      An interesting read.. thanks, Ken!

    • Ken R. Abell profile image

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Thanks, Perry. Appreciate the personal reflection. Blessings.

    • profile image

      Perry Engle 7 years ago

      Good reflection. This was my key text when I turned 50 a couple of years ago. I called it "The Stewardship of Influence." What really struck me was how testy the Master became with the guy who stuck his talent in the ground. That alone was enough to motivate me into doing something worthwhile with the next chapter of my life.

    • Ken R. Abell profile image

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      lctodd1947 - You're welcome. Thank you for sharing personal & thoughtful comments. Much encouragement to you.

    • Ken R. Abell profile image

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      naomie - Thank you for stopping in & sharing. Blessings.

    • lctodd1947 profile image

      lctodd1947 7 years ago from USA

      Ken, this is wonderful and wonderfully written. It makes me want to work on myself to serve him better and walk more in his footsteps. He does expect something from us; our service, our obedience and for us to keep the faith. Sometimes we worry too much about the material things and forget that we could do more but are afraid and not using our faith to serve him better.

      Thank you for sharing.

    • profile image

      naomie 7 years ago

      It is truly truth. We always have excuse just because we are affraid, but about what?

    • Ken R. Abell profile image

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      UlrikeGrace - You're welcome. Thanks for stopping in. Your words are affirming & encouraging. Blessings.

    • Ken R. Abell profile image

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      SilentRead - You're welcome. Thank you for sharing thoughtful comments.

    • Ken R. Abell profile image

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      2besure - You're welcome. . .I think. It kind of kicked me too. :>)

    • UlrikeGrace profile image

      UlrikeGrace 7 years ago from Canada

      Sowing for eternity...sowing for the pleasure of God...sowing...we just need to do it...God is not a task master but a loving and gracious Father helping us in all our fact He even says we can do nothing without Him so if I have God at my side, I can be encouraged that there will be purpose to my sowing...why do I not then so often...sigh...and even then God encourages us to continue on...what a God we have...Thanks for the hub was a wonderful and thouight stirring hub...bless you

    • SilentReed profile image

      SilentReed 7 years ago from Philippines

      The beauty of the parables is that they can have different meaning to each person. For me the meaning of this parable is that I have three talents and they are my children whom God have entrusted to me. To care and nurture to the best of my God given abilities. Thank you for sharing.

    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 7 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      OK, OK, I know I have to do better! Thanks for the kick in the pants...

    • Ken R. Abell profile image

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Wayne - Your welcome. Love that quote--it's exactly right. Thanks for sharing it here.

    • Ken R. Abell profile image

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      dahoglund - Thanks for stopping in. The affirmation is much appreciated.

    • Ken R. Abell profile image

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Thanks for your good words, Dave. Well said.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 7 years ago from Texas

      A thought-provoking lession, Ken. One which causes most of us to step back and look at what we have done with what God gave to work with. I read a quote the other day that said "Some people achieve because they are destined to do so; but for most people, achievement comes with determination." I thought that such a true statement. It does not take that much to be outstanding because so many are willing to settle for mediocrity in life. Thanks for an inspirational message! WB

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I was always struck by the word talent and have thought that the parable also referred to using the talents(abilities) God gave us. I thought I might have been reaching here but I did some research on the words and found that the roots were similar.

    • Dave Mathews profile image

      Dave Mathews 7 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

      Ken: I know exactly what you are saying. God share with us many talents,skills. If we do not put them to good use, they go to waste, not what God wants. If we put them to good use, for all to benefit, God is pleased. Ther is no excuse for wasting talents given by God, no excuse no reason.

      Brother Dave.

    • Ken R. Abell profile image

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      You're welcome, H.C. Glad you stopped in & shared.

    • Ken R. Abell profile image

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      LeslieAdrienne - You're welcome.

    • H.C Porter profile image

      Holly 7 years ago from Lone Star State

      I love this hub...I hate excuses- just do what you say you will do, be where you need to be and keep your mouth sealed shut if you are just going to give another reason as to why you cant do, be or act....however.

      Thanks for this hub-you really gave a thorough look into the subject and with a twist of faith...thank Ken!

    • LeslieAdrienne profile image

      Leslie A. Shields 7 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for this....our sermon topic Sunday was, "No More Excuses"

    • Ken R. Abell profile image

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      heart4theword - You're welcome. Thank you for stopping in & sharing such encouraging comments. Blessings.

    • heart4theword profile image

      heart4theword 7 years ago from hub

      Really good study on talents and gifts:) I thank God, He is a loving Father. Forgiving and Blessing our endeavors! Also thankful, for the different gifts and talents He gives us, to compliment and make each others lives more interesting:) Another great hub! You seem to just put these out so easily:) Thank you!

    • Ken R. Abell profile image

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Fred - Thank you. Your comments certainly stir the gray matter. Blessings.

    • Ken R. Abell profile image

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Powerful Pierre - Thanks for stopping in & sharing. Glad you enjoyed the visit. Blessings.

    • fred allen profile image

      fred allen 7 years ago from Myrtle Beach SC

      Well put! If we would do whatever is needed to help a spouse a parent a child or a dear friend, how much more so for the giver of life and Savior of our souls?

    • Powerful Pierre profile image

      Powerful Pierre 7 years ago from Abbotsford BC

      Hey Ken I found this very thought provoking and honest. Well done my friend.

    • Ken R. Abell profile image

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      allpurposeguru - Good points--Moses, Gideon & other Biblical heroes--we're all excuse-makers. Evidently it's part & parcel of the human condition. Peace & blessings.

    • allpurposeguru profile image

      David Guion 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Moses, Gideon, et al. were pretty good at making excuses, but when they saw God wasn't buying them, they stopped the manufacturing process and decided to give his way a try. Jesus says to all of us, Go do likewise. And yes, our view of God--generous friend or harsh taskmaster--will determine how long we keep offering him the excuses we make. Thanks, Ken, for another great reminder.

    • Ken R. Abell profile image

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      TimeHealsAll - Thank you for stopping in & sharing. Your encouragement & thumbs up are much appreciated. Peace.

    • Ken R. Abell profile image

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      RevLady - Thank you for your thoughtful comments. Much appreciated. Really like the reasoning behind, "So we use excuses to soothe our egos." Blessings & encouragement.

    • TimeHealsAll profile image

      TimeHealsAll 7 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      As you said, the ultimate point here is that talents are granted to us for a reason. We are to develope and use what God have given to do His Kingdom work. Well said! We all are blessed with talent/ability. We are to put it to good use to benefit. We reap what we sow. We need to be ALL that God intended us to be. Great hub Ken and a BIG time thumbs up!!!

    • RevLady profile image

      RevLady 7 years ago from Lantana, Florida

      God, from whom no secrets are hid, realizes that man excuses himself from His call and responds instead to the call of the world.

      It is unfortunate that excuses on the part of so many are nothing more than clever ways of getting around obligations, avoiding responsibility, or dodging the issue. It is a handy and convenient tool we use when we really do not want to do what we know we should be doing, but we do not want to say we do not want to do it because we know we should be doing it. So we use excuses to soothe our egos.

      But our Lord, who reads motives and interprets intent, knows far too well that we are excusing ourselves right into damnation.

      Thank you for the wisdom of this hub Ken.

      Love and peace in Him, who is calling us from the temporal to the eternal.

      Forever His,


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