Talent is defined as "natural aptitude or skill," and we're all born with it, whether you believe that or not. Talent can also be developed, but true talent is natural.
A young girl, though only 5 years old at the time, found some paint, along with a canvas, hidden in the attic of their old home. It must have belonged to the previous owner, but intrigued and happy by her discovery, she brought both materials to her room.
The paint, luckily, had not dried. Dipping her hands inside of the thick blue liquid, the girl splattered her hands over the canvas and went to work.
Over the years, the little girl had grown an obsession with painting portraits. She often decorated her room with her paintings, which had grown better with time.
At 18 years old, she decided to share her work with a few others in her senior class for feedback.
Her class, however, did not share the same view she did about her artwork. She was greatly criticized for her work. Some said it was "the most horrific thing they'd ever seen," "ugly," and even "meaningless."
Though discouraged, the girl didn't stop painting as most others would.
No, she pressed on.
Taking her words to the streets at 20 years old in an attempt to sell them, a considerably wealthy man stopped by. He had been looking for something beautiful to hang over his fireplace for his wife.
Seeing a portrait of a lighthouse on an island- dark and beautiful in color and painted with oil pastels and remembering how his beloved wife had loved lighthouses, the man offered the 20-year-old $10,000 for her piece as he was brought to tears.
The woman became well known for her piece of art being sold to the wealthy man and has sold many paintings ever since, despite the criticism she faced early on.
Alright, that's all! I completely made up that story off of the top of my head, but I have a purpose for it, I promise. The moral isn't only that hard work pays off. It's that talent and perseverance do.
Though the girl in the short narrative was criticized, she used her talent to the best of her ability, and it paid off, much like in Matthew 25 in the Parable of the Talents.
(In these times, talents were a form of currency, but this passage of scripture serves the same purpose for talent in general. I believe there is a bit of symbolism with the currency resembling real, true talent, which I will explain later on in this chapter.)
In Matthew 25: 14-29 (NKJV), Jesus says:
14. "For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them.
15. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey.
16. Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents.
17. And likewise, he who had received two gained two more also.
18. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord's money.
19. After a long time, the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.
20. So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying 'Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more besides them.'
21. His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler of many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'
22. He also who had received two talents came and said, 'Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.'
23. His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'
24. Then he who had received the one talent came and said, 'Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed.
25. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.'
26. But his lord answered and said to him, 'You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed.
27. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.
28. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.
29. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.'"
In case you skipped over the scripture, here is the summary:
A man who had just come into the country talked to three men. To one, he gave five talents, to another he gave two talents, and to the last, he gave one talent. He came back later and inquired of them.
The first and second man both went out, traded, and earned (the first) five talents and (the second) two talents. These were separate from what the man had given them in the first place. (For example, if I give you a dollar and you give me an identical dollar. We have the same amount, but different dollars that we had to begin with.)
Once the man (referred to as their "lord" in the passage. Back then, a lord was simply a ruler or someone who gave out to servants as this man did) came back and inquired of them, the first and second man gave their lord the separate talents that they had earned.
Their lord found joy in this, and invited them to "share the joy of their lord."
The third man took a completely different route than the first two in terms of how he handled his one talent.
He went out and buried it, and when his lord came back, he dug up the talent and gave it back, saying, "Here, it's yours."
His lord was not pleased at all with this. He called the third man a "wicked, lazy servant." His lord also took the third man's talent and gave it to the man who had ten talents.
See, even though this passage of scripture was talking about money, the same can be applied with real, natural talent and skill.
If you use the talents that God blessed you with, you can use them for his glory and share them with others. If you hide your talent in the dirt like the third man and don't use it, then are you really using yourself for God's glory? No! At least, not as far as talent goes.
Use the talents that God has given you, whether he gave you five distinct skills or only one, to the best of your ability and for his glory! Don't be the third man. Be like the first and second!
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