In the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25.14-27), a Master gives three of His servants money to invest while He’s away. He gives one servant 1 talent, another 2 talents and the other 5 talents. A talent is a measurement (weight) of gold or silver. If the Master was giving gold, the value of one talent would be a staggering $840,000! Needless to say, the Master trusted even His 1 talent servant with a great responsibility.
Whenever I read this parable, though, I often times become a little anxious. I wonder if am a 1, 2 or 5 talent kind of girl. Are my “abilities” worthy enough to handle the 5 spot or am I only strong enough for the 1? I know the emphasis of the parable is placed on the effort. No matter what God gives us, we should do our best to serve Him and His kingdom. However, I have trouble with some scholars’ opinions that God blesses some people with more talents than others–like somehow there are “Christian Elite,” and they have special purposes that surpass the rest of us. The Bible was written for all of us, and the promises that fill it are for each child of God to claim–not just a few.
When I was contemplating all of this, I felt the Holy Spirit tell me that I was looking at the parable one-dimensionally and that there was a fullness that I was missing. Then I realized that I was all three servants. God has blessed me with 1, 2 and 5 talents according to my abilities. To be honest, I have very few 5 talents, a handful of two talents and a slew of 1 talents. I can comfortably confess that there are many areas that God has given me only 1 talent of ability. I do the best that I can with my 1 talent, but my efforts won’t be able to produce what others can produce with their 5 talents.
For example, I find it difficult to speak one-on-one with people. I have friends that take this ability for granted. They don’t see what is so special about being able to casually talk about church and life with people they just met. I, on the other hand, am in awe of their communicative suaveness, and I appreciate the amazing gift that they have been given. They have 5 talents in an area that I only have 1. Sometimes, I wish I could just bury my 1 talent in the ground, but God expects me to put forth the effort, even if it’s uncomfortable and exhausting for me. Thankfully, though, God usually allows me to rest in this area, and I enjoy taking a backseat to the social-butterfly.
When I do run into people face-to-face, I use my 1 talent to the best of my abilities, and I know that God is pleased. I won’t ignore people just because I’m uncomfortable. I know that even my 1 talent is worth almost a million dollars, and I won’t squander it just because I’m an introvert. Thankfully, God gave me more talents in another form of communication. I love to write. I’m comfortable writing, and I can produce much more at the keyboard than I can at a dinner party. Because I enjoy writing, I don’t mind spending time and energy doing it. Sitting at the computer for several hours every night doesn’t sound too bad to me (though, that took years of discipline to achieve).
In reality, I wouldn’t want to have 5 talents in everything I do. Could you just imagine how draining our lives would be if we were the “bread-winners” in every area of life? When would we ever rest? I love the fact that I don’t have to be the one in charge, the one making things happen, the one that every one looks to or the one that produces the most all of the time. I value that God chose to give me a break when He designed me with many 1 talent abilities. I might have a lot to say at the keyboard; but if you find me at a dinner party, I’ll be the one in her seat, enjoying the ability to just sit and do nothing. Sure, I’ll talk if God urges me to, but normally He allows me to be a fly on the wall.
So where are your talents? Are you content in your 1 talent abilities? Do you know which abilities God has blessed you with 5 talents? Have you ever been in a season where God asked you to work in a 1 talent ability? Do you applaud those who have more talents in certain areas than you? Have you ever judged others according to their 1 talent ability, only to be surprised later on by their 5 talent ability? Have you ever been judged according to one of your 1 talent abilities?