Recently, my husband challenged my claim that I am an introvert. He listed all kinds of activities I’ve participated in through the years that would indicate otherwise: specifically, singing and speaking in front of people. I acknowledged his perspective, but countered that a dominant gift coupled with powerful passion to express it will defy paralyzing fear every time.
Throw me in a crowded room, and you’ll find me along the wall watching the interactions of everyone else. Attending a function where I must interact with others leaves me completely exhausted. However, ask me to assist in worship or bless the meal at the class reunion – I’m all in! Not because I like to be in front of people. No! It’s the most uncomfortable thing ever! But God created me to sing and instilled within me a passion to know Him and to share Him with others.
These God-given gifts are stronger than any angst I experience when presented with the opportunity to use them. They can’t be buried within me and forgotten. Rather, pushing through the anxiety and apprehension, I must get them out – use them – get them in circulation. In fact, scripture says our gifts will make room for us.
Jesus taught a parable about the use of gifts – the Parable of the Talents, found in Matthew 25:14-30:
14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
In biblical times, a talent was a unit of money equal to twenty years’ wages. To be entrusted to just one or two talents would be equivalent to a lifetime of wages. Today, we understand the “talent” to be any gift God has given, including our lives, time, finances, minds, wills, opportunities, abilities, and more.
Friends, like the man in the story, Jesus has gone on a journey and He has entrusted each of us with many beautiful gifts – to use throughout our lifetimes. The purpose of their use is to increase the Kingdom of God. Your gifts don’t look like mine; mine don’t look like hers; and hers don’t look like his. Each of us are unique in the gifts, callings and purposes God has created us. But each person, and the use of their gifts, is needed to fulfill God’s master plan!
Don’t bury the precious treasure God has instilled within you. Face every fear with confidence in the Gift-Giver. Nurture those gifts. Make time to cultivate and refine them. Then, with conquering passion, use those gifts! They will make room for you. Get them into circulation so that the Kingdom of God will expand and grow! God will be glorified, and you, too, shall hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Holding Fast to Hope,