The Talent Challenge: How to win with your talent and be rich
Spiritual lessons and principles from the parable of the talent
By Benjamin S C Ugoji
“A man can receive nothing, except it be given from heaven” (John 3:27).
Why is it that we sometimes focus on what we don’t have rather then what we have? The result is that our thinking is converged and we lose who we are or who we could become. In this frame of mind we also fail to see the diverse gifts, talents, skills, knowledge and aptitudes to which we have all been endowed. The outcome is that we fall short of the recognizance of our God’s given potential as well as the manifold blessings in terms of resources that are all around us. What if we begin to show gratitude? And look in and around us to see that God has freely given us all good things to enjoy. May be, we’ll begin to see things more clearly. For example, we begin to see the big picture and see God in all things. We begin to acknowledge him on how we can serve Him best with our talents and also our fellow men. This is in the heart of making a difference and therefore meaningful contribution. What have you been endowed with? How can you creatively use it to solve a problem that will be valuable? Think in terms of who you could become to be able to use your talent in a new way and the impact you’ll receive from this experience. This will result in you developing more empowering belief of the nature …; “I can do it”, “I have …” Imagine the possibility of what you are able to achieve. This aim of this article is look at the parable of the talent and to tease out the spiritual principles therein to equip us to a rewarding and rich lifestyle.
The talent story
“Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28).
The above quote is to give us focus as per God’s purpose for our life. He wants us to be fruitful and to multiply, replenish and to subdue. Simple, he wants us to productive and to make good use of our diverse gifts and talent to serve Him and one another. Understanding this principle is important to fostering life of learning, growth and contribution.
In this section we’ll be looking at the parable of the talent as narrated by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. But permit me to take you on a journey as a preamble to metaphorically trace the meaning of the word talent. Talent can be liked to money. Like money it doesn’t do much good if you keep it to yourself. It has to be developed. It has to be nurtured. It has to be used properly. It takes time, work and patience.
A Roman talent was a denomination of money approximately equivalent to $500 today.
The Classic Seed Money in Action, Dr, Jon Speller and Kathleen Shedaker
The Parable of the talent (Matthew 25:14 -30)
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.
Then he that received five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
But he that received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.
After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, reckoneth with them
And so he that received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I gained beside them five talents more.
His Lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
He that had received two talents came and said, Lord thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
Then he which hath received one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knowest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
Thou oughest therefore to have put my money to exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
For unto everyone that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
And cast he unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Lessons from the parable of talents
Wisdom and understanding of spiritual principles … that never fail; “let go, and let God.”
The servants that put their talents to work seem to have good understanding of God’s word. For you to receive you have to give. For you to reap you have to sow; basically for any outcome or process that you desire you have to set the initiative into motion. How you give of your talent as to receive increase that comes from God himself? Put your talent into work.
Trust versus Fear
You have to use your talent based on love, choice and purpose. Not out of fear. It’s important to be reminded that we need to continually develop our abilities. God had not given us the spirit of fear but of power, love and sound mind. Perfect love casteth out fear for fear has to do with torment and he that feareth is not made perfect in love. We need to constantly remind ourselves that our taste and talents is God given and we should use it for good works. You need to operate from the position of power and faith and not fear, because each would lead to a particular outcome.
“For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me” (Job 3:25).
Use your talent versus hide your talent
Talent like investment is better invested on and this takes time. The two invested … traded with their talent for maximum return. The one with one talent hid his out of slothfulness and fear. His master had even suggested that he could have put the money into usury.
“I have been brought up to believe, and the conviction only grows upon me, that giving ought to be entered into in just the same careful way as investing.”
John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
Unlock your talent potential as you learn the principle of multiplicity based on God’s resources
The onus is on us to discover how to put our talent into work as to add value to our lives and others around us. We need to be reminded that we are given the talent to serve. You don’t look at your limitation but on God’s limitless resources to help you at each stage.
Talent like Money are more valuable when exchanged
Two of the servants put their masters good, talents and moneys to work. Money, talent and goods or services are profitable when exchanged in terms of their value in a given market place. They traded their talents and profited double fold. The one with one talent hid his talent
As Stewards of God’s Manifold blessings we should give account of our stewardship
When their Lord returned after a long time … probably for their talents to increase in value and for them to profit; their Lord returned. Remember that it was recorded that:
“For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
Without Him (God) we can do nothing.
The hath and the hath not
For me this is probably the reason why the poor are poor and the rich richer. If you use your God given gift it is multiplied according to God’s economy and timetable. (Verse, 29)
“For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath” (Matthew 25:29).
The law of giving kick starts the law of receiving. If you are not willing to give then you will not receive. Both receiving and giving are based on choice, faith and love (trust).
It was Julius Rosenwald who revealed that the truly great fortunes were not received through hoarding, but through circulating money - giving and receiving freely.
Grow, develop and use your talent
Talent – your most valuable gift
“…The most successful people build their career around their natural talents and passion. And they build a cabinet of people with different natural talent from their own.”
- Blaire Palmer
There are certain insights from the above quote from Blaire Palmer:
Successful people build their career around their talents and passion;
The leverage their abilities by building a cabinet of people with different talent from their own,
You have to operate from a position of strength and you have to work cooperatively and collaboratively with other to perform at your best.
Achievement is usually talent plus preparation.
Each person that comes into this world has been endowed by with God given ability called talent which will you to profit from life as well as contribute meaningfully to impact others. In every field of knowledge or human endeavour there are people that have discovered their God given talents and have worked very hard to sharpen this ability – to use their talent to create opportunities that will improve other people’s lives. They have been rewarded for their contribution because of the products /services that they have created to add value to other people’s lives.
What is it that makes the difference between the creative person and the less creative person?
Well, it’s not any special power but greater knowledge of practised expertise and motivation to acquire it.
“Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.”
- Malcolm Gladwell – Author of Outliers – the story of success.
In a study of male professionals from diverse field such as singing, acting, writing, computer programming, music, aviation, and firefighting. It was revealed by the Cambridge Handbook of Expertise Performance that of all the more superb performers that expertise is made not burn. It is the amount and quality of practice which influences the level of expertise people achieve rather than any innate gift.
Margaret A Boden in her book “The Creative Mind” reported that: “Talent which matter include the ability to engage other people, to communicate clearly, to assimilate information, to lean to generate and make decisions.”
It is worthy of note here, to mention that the key to creating passion in one’s life is to find your unique talents and your special role and purpose in the world.
According to David McNally, in his book “Even Eagles Need A Push, “people perform at their best when contributing their talents to something they believe in.”
What is your talent? Have you considered how best to develop it? This key to performing excellently in your chosen career or vocation is to work hard to develop your talent and use it to serve others. Perhaps, this is described succinctly by this quote from Stephen King.
"Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work."
Therefore, the onus is on you to become more creative in the use of your talent.
“The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind – creators and empathizers, pattern recognisers and meaning makers. These people … will now reap society’s richest rewards and share its greatest joy.”
Daniel Pink, Author A Whole New Mind
Examine yourself and see how you stand
The law of life is that that upon which you focus your attention always comes into your life and experience. He must stop focusing on them and instead focus on receiving, having, sharing and giving.
It is important that you challenge yourself in the light of this discussion.
Have you taken time to discover your taste and talents?
Those interests that make your eyes to pop and keep you awake throughout the night. Are there people that you know that have the same talent or interest that you are passionate about? Why not find out how they have been able to do what you desire to do?
Take positive and effective action on how to put your own talent to work
“Concentrate all your thought upon the work at hand. The sun’s ray does not burn until brought to a focus.”
How can you use your talent to add value to other people’s life …; in your family, workplace, church, community?
Is it possible to use your diverse gifts and talents to serve more people and with the possibility of you been rewarded monetarily for it?
In conclusion, you can become, do and have whatsoever you desire if you put your talent to work. Start form the position of power that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. Your defining moments each step of the way will become your miracle moment to the success you really desire.