Using God-given Gifts and Talents
God gives us gifts and the freedom to use them as we want. He also provides us with the potential to gain the vitality and drive we need to use our gifts to fulfill our purpose on earth, and to provide for our financial needs.
We shouldn't be fearful or lazy when it comes to using gifts of skill or talent. Instead, we should allow the passion and joy we get from knowing God prepared us to do a thing to be the wind beneath our wings. We should work as hard as we need to work in order to get all we can from using what God has given us, or what He has empowered us to know is our gift. When blessed with talent or skills, or the ability and the opportunity to acquire them, we should seek ways to develop and to use them.
Parable of the Talents
We’ve all read and heard the story Jesus told to a rich man named Zacchaeus. The story, called the “Parable of the Talents,” is from Luke 19:12-28. Here is the story Jesus told:
“A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.
And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.
Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.
And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities.
And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin: For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow. And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?
And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds. (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.) For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.”
What Might Have Been . . .
I have known many people who have shared with me their sorrow about not using what they know must have been God’s gifts to them. In fact, my mother (now deceased) often spoke of how she always wanted to be a professional singer.
She had a beautiful voice, my mother. She sang in her church choir for many years and even performed as a soloist, gaining quite a reputation in her community and surrounding towns as a gifted singer. And, even though she gained recognition and experienced great joy and satisfaction from performing on the local level, she often wondered aloud what might have been, had she pursued in her youth the professional singing career she once dreamed of having.
While I believe my mother's talent was used well, for God, I too often wonder "what if?" Then again I think that if she had become a successful professional singer, she and my dad might never have married, and my siblings and I might have never been born. Funny, but those are the things that come to mind when I play the "what if?" game.
The Parable of the Talents is one of the lessons Jesus gave us to show that it is God’s desire that we use what He gives us for increase. He wants us to live full and prosperous lives using what he gives us for our own joy and prosperity, as well as for His glory. He wants us to enjoy all kinds of "abundance" using what He has given us; abilities and gifts that we are in charge of, until He comes again. And, just as the nobleman in the parable expected that his servants would take the money he put under their control, and use it in a way that would cause increase, God expects us to use what He has given us for increase as well.
The way that my mother used her gift of song allowed her to prosper by filling her life and the lives of her children with music and song. She had more joy in her life based on her decision to join and to sing in the church choir. She enjoyed being known as a singer, and was often asked and invited to sing at different churches, some nearby, others not so near. She became a leader in the church, and for many years supervised the children's choir using her gift of song and musical talent. After she taught herself to play the piano she sometimes played for the choir when the regular pianist was not able to attend church.
Connecting With the Power of the Holy Spirit
Connecting with God every day through prayer and faith; putting His word into the fine details of your life every day—I believe, is the way to stay in touch with the Holy Spirit. God wants us to dream more, to be more, to do more, and to get more as we advance toward Him. I'm not talking about using what He gives you simply for the purpose of acquiring and accumulating material things of this world, but to make good use of your life for the purpose of having life, more abundantly.
When you learn to live in the spirit, God is present in all aspects of your life. That means every step that you make empowers you to make ten more through the power of the Holy Spirit, whether you're in pursuit of monetary or non-monetary goals. Soon, if you persevere, it will seem as though you have “wings” as you start moving toward success in your endeavors. When God empowers you to achieve something through the Holy Spirit, whatever you begin is as good as finished.
When God revealed to Moses his purpose, to build a tabernacle, He empowered men with the Holy Spirit, so that together they could skillfully complete the required work (Exodus 32:2-6).
God empowers us through the Holy Spirit across all skills and trades, the arts, and all professions—medicine, law, education, clergy, and so on. God works through us, and the Holy Spirit empowers us with the potential for genius and accomplishment through the gaining and using of instruction, knowledge, skills, and wisdom.
To connect with and become empowered by the Holy Spirit, we must be obedient to God, keeping Him first in all our plans and all our work. But when we lose touch with God through disobedience, as did King Saul in the Bible, we cause the Holy Spirit to depart from us.
God does not want us to be disobedient to His word, and He does not want us to hide our lights under a barrel. He wants you and me to let our lights shine, and to allow them to illuminate our way, and to help light the way for others. He also wants us to value humility. Using your gifts and talents can become a source of pride, so it is important to always remember to exercise humility when our gifts or talents take us into the limelight. Still, you should feel good and personally rewarded for having the courage and confidence to go forth and to use your gifts as God desires for us all to use them.
Now. You can bet that as sure as God gives you gifts and talents, Lucifer is waiting to scare you into not using them. It's true. Our eternal enemy, the always evil one and those he works through, are always committed to the opposite of what God wants for us, and fear is one of his/their weapons of choice. Think about it: If you allow fear and doubt to become your worst enemy, that alone can be the only thing standing between using or not using what God has given you, what you've been blessed with for the purpose of helping you make the most of your life.
The Parable of the Talents explains how God leaves us to our own free will in deciding whether or not we will use and attempt to prosper from what He gives us. He doesn’t demand that we use our gifts in any particular way. In fact, He doesn’t demand that we use them at all. But He gives them to us, and He expects us to be faithful and reliable in using them well.
© 2013 Sallie B Middlebrook PhD