Are You a Talent Miser?

A miser, to make sure he controlled all his wealth, sold all that he had and converted it into a great lump of gold, which he hid in a hole in the ground.  Then he repeatedly went to visit and inspect it.  This roused the curiosity of one of his workmen, who, suspecting that there was a treasure, when his master’s back was turned, went to the spot, and stole it away.  When the miser returned and found the place empty, he wept and tore his hair.


But a neighbor who saw him in this extravagant grief, and learned the cause of it, said:  “Fret thyself no longer, but take a stone and put it in the same place, and think that it is your lump of gold; for as you never meant to use it, the one will do you as much good as the other.”

Moral of the story:  The worth of money is not in its possession, but in its use.  — Aesop Fable, Sixth Century B.C.

The same is true of talents and abilities.  Just knowing you have the ability means nothing.  It is only in finding an application that there is any benefit for you or the world.  What is the gold lump in your life that you have simply buried?  That only you knows is there?  Are you talented and broke?  Do you have the “ability” to do something great but continue to do menial work?  Talent and ability mean little unless you create a plan to engage those for a worthy purpose. 

Mark Twain once said, “The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them.”  In the same way, the person who has unapplied talent is no better off than the person who has no talent.

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23 Responses to “Are You a Talent Miser?”

  1. Derrick Says:

    This is so true!!! I agree with everything, “The person who has unapplied talent is no better off than the person who has no talent.” But is there a person with “no talent”?

  2. Cath Says:

    Every person has a talent. I truly believe in that but for some people ‘talent’ is mostly related to art skills. I have waisted my talents and just realized I am in a constant depression. How to overcome it ? I am 29 and it is too late…

  3. kevin Says:

    This is a very moving message for me. Out of fear, I have become a talent miser. Like the miser in the story, I have hid my talent because of fear and felt a false sense of security by not exposing myself to possiblity failure or rejection.

  4. rachel Says:

    Don’t know how to find my talent, been in this career and have not had a chance to look any other way, so totally lost, and can’t jump into anything at this age. Keep asking God to magnify ot help me find those talents or gifts.

  5. Derrick Says:

    Part of the beauty of life is that we have the opportunity to learn and make adjustments as we discover things about ourselves and life. The best way to use our energy after we discover that we were on the “wrong” path is enhance our future instead of regretting the past, which leads to depression.

    At 42 I found myself having to start over professionally and move my family to a new country because of unexpected events. It was very difficult, and I was tempted to become bitter but chose instead to turn it into an opportuinity to shape my life into what I wanted it to be.

    I am here to say there is hope even for a talent miser… who is willing to learn and change.

  6. Alessandra Says:

    This story brought me to tears. I feel like I do nothing with my talent and skills. I’m an artist…but lately I’ve been painting only when I have a little bit of time. It hurts my soul, truly. I never have time anymore because of my job…a job that I hate. I’ve read the 48 hours book. I’m reading what color is your parachute…it’s still very difficult to move to do what I really want to do. I’m working on it, I’m not giving up…even if it takes a lifetime…Cath…it’s never too late to do anything! We only have one life. Do what you like…like Dan says…everything else will fall into place…that is my resolution this year.
    I’m blessed to have a job, even though I don’t like it…it puts bread on the table…but slowly I’m working to get where I want to be…for myself and for others. People see I’m not happy, I don’t want them to see me like this anymore…

  7. Chuck Edwards Says:

    This is a perfect sermon on our greatest short-coming; non-use of the talent we’re given. Here then is a topic “that’ll preach” for sure and I hope those that develop the topic further will share their work and their talent.
    I will keep “TALENT MISER” on the mirror as a reminder while I plan further for a meaningful 2010 engaging the talent I have developed and failed to yet bestow.


  8. Victor Encinas Says:

    Thank you again for your use of your talent! I have been moved by this post. Not sure what God is stirring in me through these words, but I have been touched.


  9. Victoria Says:

    What a timely article. I was just thinking today that I would begin working with my children to establish a hobby and see to it that they practice it weekly. I have many talents have not done anything with them in years and will also do the same for myself. It’s like this was confirmation that I am on the right path.


  10. Terry Mead Says:

    I love your articles! they are very encouraging, motivational and uplifting. I, like Alessandra, am an artist of sorts. I work at a job that I “like” because bills need to be paid. I also agree that it is NEVER too late to do anything, especially if you are 29, Cath! (Smile) What I do know is that God does give us all talents and abilities, but too many of us compare ourselves to others who are making money at it. Sometimes volunteering can fill the void and maybe lead to other things. I myself am a closet cartoonist and volunteer my cartooning to a greyhound rescue, working with a woman I’ve never met. I get to exercise my right brain, network with others and feel like I am using what I have been given. Many of us have jobs that drain us, but we can always reach out in other ways to use what we have. It’s amazing how good it can make you feel.
    Allessandra – check out the web site – you can network with other Christian artists…and who knows. They are in the UK but have also just started a newsletter for this side of the pond.

  11. Donna McQueen Says:

    This is so moving and goes along with our message Sunday about keeping our gifts hidden…time to bring them out of the closets of our heart!

  12. Carrie Says:

    Well, I’m 32, and just now got an art blog started. It’s hard for me to put myself out there, but I’m doing it in small ways. Life is certainly not over when you hit 30…in some ways I feel like I’m getting started.

    Depression can definitely be a symptom of ignoring who you are…I’ve struggled with it for years, and lived in denial that I had it. It can easily masquerade as apathy, or anger.

  13. Calvin Richardson Says:

    I am a talent miser! No I’m not! Ok, so I just looked up the definition of a miser. Definition: 1. somebody who hoards (talent): somebody who hates (using talent) and lives as though he or she were (without talent). 2. ungenerous or selfish person: … I’m not a miser. I just tend to take the easiest route. (The hourly job). Just like most other people.
    Then there is that question? What is my calling? If it’s where I’m being lead then some changes need to be made.
    Is it’s time to see if I have the talent that can be developed into something?

  14. Jason Garey Says:

    Ouch! Guilty. 😡 However, I am becoming more bold. I encourage every one reading this to consider the parable of the talents Jesus told. ’nuff said. Thanks for the reminder, Dan.

  15. Brian Says:

    How far do you have to go with your talents? I have the opportunity to take a lateral position doing something exciting and different. Staying in the job I am in now, I am in line for a promotion and more money and would manage this small group. I am not sure which path to take. Am I shirking responsibility, not having confidence in myself or just want to do something else before I have the ‘golden handcuffs’ placed on me? How does one answer these questions?

  16. Leon de Rijke Says:

    I like to connect talent with calling when thinking/talking about these concepts. At this moment I really enjoy living out my calling using the talents God gave me. I dug them out of the ground and started using them.

  17. Micheal Says:

    This is one of my favorite podcast. Not only does it destroy my every excuse but also creates a deeper seeking. While going to a progressive church about destiny, purpose and missions; I have yet to hear anyone really address in real meat and potatoes how to get a clear answer on talents and purpose. The meat of what you say is more than filling.

  18. Bruce Gulde Says:

    29 and it is too late? I will be 58 this January and there is plenty of time — as long as action is taken!

  19. Justin Lukasavige Says:

    A perfect example of ACTING on your abilities to make the world a better place. Thanks Dan!

  20. Lynne Watts Says:

    This is a GREAT story and illustration of how important it is to take action. Even if it is in the WRONG direction, action at least helps you clarify where you should go. I am in the process of self publishing one of my children’s stories after literally years of thinking, revising, talking, trying different approaches, thinking, worrying, planning…etc. It feels SO good to be moving in a direction. Thanks for the motivation!

  21. Wendy Says:

    Am I a talent miser? – YES!
    Do I need to stop ASAP? – YES!
    Do I know exactly how to stop? – NO!

    The Lord has given me talents that I know were meant to be used to help others. I know this because when I work on projects that involve my talent and helping others I can feel my spirit jump!!!! I believe I suffer from the “Baby Elephant Syndrome” I have been tied down so long to the idea that I have to work a “normal” J-O-B in order to survive that the idea of me going off and doing what my heart and my spirit says do is scary to the point I still feel as if I am tied down and I need to “hush up that nonsense”. How do you fight the illusion of chains when you are actually free?

  22. Ron O Says:

    im no miser

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