I always bristle when I hear the term “gifted and talented” when someone is describing a certain subset of people. In my humble opinion, we are ALL gifted, in a wide variety of ways that may not always be as visible as others.
And when it comes to spiritual gifts, I think Paul perfectly reflects that sentiment in Romans 12:5:
(Photo and artistic genius: Tammy Miller, 2016 🙂 )
We are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t. Romans 12:5, The Message
The Bible tells us that we, as children of God, are uniquely gifted. What does that mean? Well, it means God has gifted us in different ways in order for us to use the gifts for the good of Him and of others. A gift is a noun; to use it in a talented way is a verb.
In other words, our talents are the abilities through which our gifts manifest themselves.
Are you all familiar with the story, or parable, Jesus shared in Matthew 25? You may know it The Parable of the Talents. It’s a pretty telling lesson for us that serves as a guide and reminder that, whatever it is we are given, we’re supposed to use it!
Click here to read it (Matthew 25:14-30 NLT)! I’ll wait here while you do…!
Interesting, right? Well, all except that gnashing of teeth thing. That? Not so much…
I love this parable because it teaches us four important things to keep in mind as we learn about our own gifts and how to use them:
- None of the people in this story start off with an equal amount of “talent;” each of them is given a different sum or level of “talents” with which to use. The same can be said of us! We need to watch out so we don’t fall into a prideful attitude (if we’ve been given 5 bags full of gifts!) OR get a case of “gift envy” (in case we only got the one bag!)!
- Even though each person is gifted in different measure, each is expected to do something with the talents they’re given in order to create a kind of increase or return on the initial gift. There is an expectation on us that we USE the talents we’re given, sweet friends, and not to let them lie dormant.
- Each person in the story had the opportunity to CHOOSE what to do with those talents. We do NOT have a puppeteer for a God, ladies. We have one who has faith in us as long as we have faith in Him! Use what He has given you wisely.
- We will be asked to answer for how we used (or neglected to use) what we were given. I think it’s interesting that the third servant gets defensive when asked by the master how he used the talents he was given. Nowhere in this story is it said that this master was a bad man or evil or corrupt. The other two servants don’t seem to be afraid of him and act quickly and successfully on his behalf. So what was the deal with servant number three? Well, I think it was one of three things: he was afraid because he didn’t know what to do with it – but the master counters with “you could’ve at least just put it in the bank”, which seems like a logical thing to do – keep it safe, even if you don’t know exactly how to invest it. Or maybe he got caught being lazy – after all, when we get caught avoiding doing something we are supposed to do we get defensive and try to turn the tables to deflect the blame. Or maybe he just jealous and was ruminating over the fact that the other two servants received more than he did so he decided to be a bit belligerent and angry and do nothing with what he was given. When we act out of fear, laziness, or envy like the third servant, well, the parable is clear in explaining that nothing good is going to come from that. When we invest wisely – like the first two servants, we are rewarded with more AND with the chance to hold company with the master.
So the moral of the story is this: God “gifted” you and you didn’t have to pay a single penny for it. Now go “talent those gifts, girl”. Amen?
Following along with our on purpose 2016 study? If so, here’s your mission for this week:
- Read Days 29-35 in The Purpose Driven Life.
- Complete Week 7 in your Inspiration Book! (Click here for more info on that!)
- Complete the SHAPE Profile in The Purpose Driven Life Guide (pages 78-82)
- Listen/watch this crazy cool tune by Hollyn called “Steady Me“! I get a total “Cool-Sister-Friend-God-Groove” thing going when I hear this one!
Okay, girlies! Love you loads and have each of you in my thoughts and prayers this week. See you back here next Thursday.
Peace, love, and JOY!
Up Next Week: Listen up. This is important.