ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Religion and Philosophy»
  • Christianity, the Bible & Jesus

Using God-given Gifts and Talents

Updated on May 31, 2014
drmiddlebrook profile image

Dr. Middlebrook is a self-publishing expert, author (pen name Beax Rivers), online course developer, and former university professor.

Source

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.
Parable of the Talents. | Source

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.

A 1712 depiction of the parable of the talents.
A 1712 depiction of the parable of the talents. | Source

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.

Source

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.

"Prayers Heal" is a work of art depicting a surgeon who believes in prayer. The surgeon later bought the painting. Art of Ted Ellis.
"Prayers Heal" is a work of art depicting a surgeon who believes in prayer. The surgeon later bought the painting. Art of Ted Ellis. | Source

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.

Source

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. The Evil One always wants the opposite of what God wants for us, and fear is one of his 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

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • drmiddlebrook profile image
      Author

      Sallie B Middlebrook PhD 3 years ago from Texas, USA

      Thank you, heartofhush. It is always a pleasure to hear that something I wrote is exactly what someone else needed to read, at a particular time. I truly believe loving and practicing the art of writing IS a gift from God, and I believe God uses this gift as a way for me to bless my own soul, and to bless the souls of others. Go with God, and please use your gifts to nourish and bless your soul, and the souls of others.

    • heartofhush profile image

      heartofhush 3 years ago

      Thank YOU so very much for writing this hub.It was exactly what I needed to read. Now I understand things a lot better. Look out world I am coming out. Lol

    • drmiddlebrook profile image
      Author

      Sallie B Middlebrook PhD 4 years ago from Texas, USA

      James, my friend in Christ, how wonderful to hear from you again. I hope your New Year is going exactly as you want/need it to go. Thank you so much for visiting this Hub, and for making such thoughtful and insightful comments.

      Your words flowed through me like blessed relief, and I am especially thankful that you commented on the remarks of the agitated visitor. Did you notice that near the end of this Hub I had written, and I quote, "You can bet that as sure as God gives you gifts and talents, Lucifer is waiting to scare you into not using them."? That sentence must have agitated the devil! And the appearance (and reluctance to leave) of the visitor just served to show me the pure truth of the Gospel of Christ.

      James, it is truly amazing to me how true the words of the Holy Bible really are. I know I'm a mature Christian, but sometimes I feel like a "babe in Christ" when I see God's inspired Word being played out in front of me, prophetically. I'm seeing it more and more, the longer I live. Holy Scripture is coming alive before my very eyes. I know I shouldn't be amazed by this, but my human frailties sometimes take control.

      I'm going to pay your Hubs a visit this evening. I always enjoy reading your work. You are another superb writer, and I'm eagerly looking forward to reading your book when it's published. May God guide, bless, and keep you this year as you continue to be an inspiration through your writing, and as an exceptionally gifted member of the Hub Pages community.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago

      Your article is great and you are a gifted writer. I love your opener: "God gives us gifts and the freedom to use them as we want."

      AMEN!

      And you gave superb advice here: "Connecting with God every day through prayer and faith"

      Yes, indeed.

      Thank you for a deep and edifying Hub. It is too bad that the servant of Beelzebub came calling. He said, "I can be a good person without hoping for a reward in an imaginary paradise"

      I wouldn't mind seeing that, him facing God at Judgment and saying, "I'm a good person!" I am sure he will go far with that one.

      Your aggravator also quoted the Bible out of context, as the Evil One loves to do, when he wrote this in his comments above: "He told his followers to sell everything and give it to the poor. He told his followers to take nothing with them, but to depend on the hospitality of others."

      In the latter case, it is addressed to evangelists, preaching the Word of God, who are generally supported by the hospitality of others. In the former case, Jesus was, as always, getting to the heart of the matter straightaway: The man loved his money and created things more than he loved his Creator. Jesus could see his heart with the utmost clarity.

      This never meant we should have no money or possessions. On the contrary, Thou Shalt Not Steal implies that we have property worth stealing. And to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, and give shelter to those who don't have it requires property or money. You cannot take care of the poor without the means to do so. Jesus knew that.

      It is misquoting God to say that "Money is the root of all evil." He said, "The LOVE OF MONEY is the root of all evil."

      God Bless You!

      James :-)

    • drmiddlebrook profile image
      Author

      Sallie B Middlebrook PhD 4 years ago from Texas, USA

      Thank you Marlene B. I guess the best way to end this seemingly "endless" conversation is for me to just stop responding. I agree wholeheartedly, enough is enough. Thanks for your kind words about my hub, and for your suggestion that my visitor should write his own hub. A minister's voice and insight is just what was needed at this point.

    • JMcFarland profile image

      Julie McFarland 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      you're making a lot of baseless assumptions, but I've come to expect it. Glad that you know me better than I apparently know myself. Good luck with that. Plus, since you've said three times that you weren't going to justify any of my answers with a response and then gone back and answered anyway, I really can't take you seriously. Before you say I'm doing the same thing - I was simply responding to a comment addressed to me. Whatever floats your boat.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 4 years ago from Northern California, USA

      To JMcFarland - enough is enough! This is not a forum. It's a hub. The writer is an excellent writer.

      Since you are so opinionated on the subject, write a hub!

    • drmiddlebrook profile image
      Author

      Sallie B Middlebrook PhD 4 years ago from Texas, USA

      Do what you want JMcFarland. I see no point in responding to questions from someone who really is not seeking answers as much as trying to justify what he believes in, with someone who believes differently. My income generation will survive without your comments. Take care.

    • JMcFarland profile image

      Julie McFarland 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      I guess christians of your ilk just don't like questions. I was just trying to explain myself. I won't bother generating income for you by visiting your hubs anymore.

    • drmiddlebrook profile image
      Author

      Sallie B Middlebrook PhD 4 years ago from Texas, USA

      You're having a conversation with yourself now. The worst threat you seem to be posing is to yourself. I'll pray for you.

    • JMcFarland profile image

      Julie McFarland 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      I'm not trying to provoke anything - I'm just asking questions. I don't understand how questions can pose such a threat that a) you don't answer them and b) you see it as a personal assault on your own faith.

    • drmiddlebrook profile image
      Author

      Sallie B Middlebrook PhD 4 years ago from Texas, USA

      As I stated before, JMcFarland, point out, criticize, say anything you want. I have no problem with you believing as you do, but you seem to have a problem with me and other Christians believing as we do. As I've stated before, you and I need to agree to disagree, and leave it at that. You're trying to provoke an angry response from me, but you won't get one. Take care.

    • JMcFarland profile image

      Julie McFarland 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      That didn't answer my question. I understand that religious beliefs are personal and it's easy to take any criticism of them personally. I don't think that questioning a belief system or pointing out flaws is disrespectful. In the atheist community, it's the height of respect to call out things that you disagree with and question everything with a healthy degree of skepticism. If you took it personally, I am sorry for that - but I don't find asking questions or being critical of a religious belief to be any indication of a person's character. Usually the only people that vehemently oppose being called out or questioned are the people that doubt what they believe in the first place.

    • drmiddlebrook profile image
      Author

      Sallie B Middlebrook PhD 4 years ago from Texas, USA

      Do whatever you want JMcFarland. You're only showing us who you are, and that is your right.

    • JMcFarland profile image

      Julie McFarland 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      drmiddlebrook - how does questioning a post or criticizing particular beliefs of any (or all) religions as a whole denigrate your own personal faith?

    • drmiddlebrook profile image
      Author

      Sallie B Middlebrook PhD 4 years ago from Texas, USA

      Thank you so much MarleneB. It's great to hear from you, and I'm so glad my Hub was a source of encouragement for you. That's exactly what I wanted it to be because I know how much encouragement means to me. I love to encourage others as part of my daily service to God. Do keep forging ahead, fearlessly using the gifts that God has given you. Refine, refine, refine, but keep on moving forward as you refine. The best is yet to come, and as you use your gifts, may they bring blessing into your life!

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 4 years ago from Northern California, USA

      Excellent hub offering much encouragement in moving forward with our gifts. For me, fear is my greatest inhibitor. Now, after reading your very timely hub, I am reminded to keep forging forward with the gifts God has given me. Thank you for your beautiful message.

    • drmiddlebrook profile image
      Author

      Sallie B Middlebrook PhD 4 years ago from Texas, USA

      Thanks for clearing that up, JMcFarland. I am indeed glad to hear that you have plenty of peace. Perhaps if there was a way you could find to express your views without denigrating my beliefs or my God, your peace would be more evident, at least to me, in your communication.

      Thanks again.

    • drmiddlebrook profile image
      Author

      Sallie B Middlebrook PhD 4 years ago from Texas, USA

      Thank you Blossom, for the visit and the kind words. Yes, I am a believer in the "use it or lose it" concept, because it's what can happen when you let your gifts "atrophy" from lack of use or from failure to use them. I'm doing my best to use my gifts, even more these days as I'm attempting to redefine my career.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      JM it has nothing to do with your belief in God. It has to do with a certain coldness of heart. An implied belief in the irrelevance of how people feel. It just comes across very clearly in your writing. Love is not an ingredient of your writing.

      Hey that is all cool. At least 50% of all writing is devoid of love. I do not condemn it or feel sorry for you. It is just a fact. Perhaps the bible has absolutely no scientific type relevance to you. That is cool. Perhaps your science has no biblical relevance to me. But Love is always relevant.

    • JMcFarland profile image

      Julie McFarland 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      How am I devoid of love just because I don't believe in your god? That comment doesn't make any sense.

      Additionally, I have plenty of peace. I'm sorry that some people are so shortsighted as to think that without their own personal god, it's impossible to have either.

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      I think most of us have 'What ifs' in our lives, but as you write, if we're blessed with talents then we should use them. As someone once said, 'Use it or lose it.' A very good article on the topic, thank you for writing about it.

    • drmiddlebrook profile image
      Author

      Sallie B Middlebrook PhD 4 years ago from Texas, USA

      Hi Delighted. Thanks so much for reading and for sharing about the initiative your church is undertaking. What a wonderful initiative it seems to be.

      It is unfortunate that so many people live not knowing or not connecting fully with special talents/gifts, or simply failing to see the value of being a child of the MOST HIGH GOD. What an awesome God we serve, that loves us and does not require that we live defeated, dejected, and rejected existences. He wants us to work and strive to have life "more abundantly." The Parable of the Talents is proof of what Jesus wanted us to learn about being engaged in life with vigor, passion, and purpose.

      A wonderful preacher I once knew said "a man with no ambition is an insult to God," and that's the understanding I get when I read the Parable of the Talents.

      May God bless the efforts of your church. Thanks again.

    • drmiddlebrook profile image
      Author

      Sallie B Middlebrook PhD 4 years ago from Texas, USA

      Hi Ericdierker, and thanks so much for your kind comments. I choose to believe in God and Christ, and therefore I will only respond with love and kindness.

      I find peace in, and am inspired by the "heaping of coals" from Proverbs 25:22. I know what I'm dealing with, not flesh and blood, but principalities. Who is aggravated by kindness? Who seeks to cause confusion among believers? Who can it benefit? Like you, I choose the love of God as my guide in all things.

    • profile image

      Delighted 4 years ago

      Our church right now is working through an initiative with those who want to, to discover our gifts, talents and passions and to use more of our life using them. So many spend their lives not knowing that they even have special talents or gifts, or they don't see the value of who they are and live a life of 'toil', just getting through each day, rather than being engaged in that which sparks their creativity and passion. Your hub fits perfectly with this. Thank you.

    • drmiddlebrook profile image
      Author

      Sallie B Middlebrook PhD 4 years ago from Texas, USA

      JMcFarland, I think it's best that you and I just agree to disagree, and we'll leave it at that. My understanding of Jesus' words are not the same as yours, thank God. Thanks, but no thanks, for your lessons on what Jesus intended for His followers. You are free to believe as you please, and so am I. May you find peace, and take care.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      The hub is interesting and useful. The ideas are longsuffering and good.

      But strangely I have never seen such a stark difference in written comments. Yours are filled with love. JMs are void of Love. Right or wrong or indifferent I choose the Love.

      I always like to think of Paul as he most certainly worked outside of preaching in order no to be a burden.

    • JMcFarland profile image

      Julie McFarland 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      Do you know what an atheist is? Clearly not, if you mistakenly think that we have our own "god"

      You don't seem to care about what Jesus taught. He said not to safe money or plan for the future. He told his followers to sell everything and give it to the poor. He told his followers to take nothing with them, but to depend on the hospitality of others. Now you're here writing a hub on profiting on the gifts that god gave you. Ironic.

    • drmiddlebrook profile image
      Author

      Sallie B Middlebrook PhD 4 years ago from Texas, USA

      My freedom is in Jesus Christ, and always will be. So, thanks but no thanks, JMcFarland, for your atheism. You have a right to your views and your beliefs, as do I. Christianity takes no prisoners. Whosoever will, let them come. You don't have to believe in my God, and I thank God that I don't have to believe in yours. Take care now.

    • JMcFarland profile image

      Julie McFarland 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      It's actually wonderful me. I can be a good person without hoping for a reward in an imaginary paradise or fearing eternal torment. I can value others based on their own merit, not on what "religion" they follow. Atheism allowed me to be free from the shackles of judgement and condemnation, not the other way around. I will hope that you find that freedom as well.

    • drmiddlebrook profile image
      Author

      Sallie B Middlebrook PhD 4 years ago from Texas, USA

      JMcFarland, I'm so very sorry to hear that. How sad for you. I've lived long enough and witnessed enough to know what I know, so I'm not simply relying on other people's understanding or lack of understanding when it comes to following Christ and the Word of God. I hope that if you are still searching for the truth, that you will find a way to believe again.

    • JMcFarland profile image

      Julie McFarland 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      I graduated from a christian college with a degree in theology and biblical languages. I've read it. which is precisely why I can't believe in it anymore.

    • drmiddlebrook profile image
      Author

      Sallie B Middlebrook PhD 4 years ago from Texas, USA

      JMcFarland, thanks for reading/commenting. Your thoughts, though seemingly misguided, are appreciated. Keep reading and learning more about the example set for us by Jesus, and that will help you gain more understanding and insight. As I wrote in my article, "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."

    • drmiddlebrook profile image
      Author

      Sallie B Middlebrook PhD 4 years ago from Texas, USA

      Thanks so much teacherjoe52. especially for that blessing. I need and appreciate your prayer for me. I'm writing an e-book right now that emphasizes exactly what you said--"God did not save us to sit on our butts!" Getting and staying active, using our skills and gifts and potential, it's not only good for health, it is also how we achieve and prosper.

    • JMcFarland profile image

      Julie McFarland 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      I thought that your god was supposed to provide for all of your financial needs himself. Matthew 6:19-23 Bible-icon.png

      19Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 22The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! Matthew 6:25-34 Bible-icon.png

      25Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 29And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

      Matthew 19: 21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

      22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions

    • teacherjoe52 profile image

      teacherjoe52 4 years ago

      Good morning drmiddlebrook

      That is very inspiring.

      God did not save us to sit on our butts. He has given each of us a gift to use in service to Him and if the opportunity arises there is nothing wrong with earning an income from this gift as that is another gift.

      May God bless you with many opportunties to use His gift to you.