Posts Tagged ‘talent’

Are You a Talent Miser?

December 15, 2009

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.

Talent is nothing to God – oh really?

November 9, 2009

Okay, here’s a sticky theological question from a reader:

Dan, I love to share my faith with others and I seem to have many natural talents, skills and abilities suited for a minister. Many people have even suggested I enter the Ministry. However, I believe that no matter how suited someone may be for ministry they must be called of God in order to be a Minister. Talent is nothing to God. He rather wants a fully surrendered and obedient individual. I suppose my question is how do I know whether I’m called to be a minister or just an entrepreneur with an idea I’m passionate about? – John

How does God “call” us except through giving us skills and abilities, personality traits and passions that draw us in a particular direction?  To think that God will ask a “fully surrendered and obedient individual” to something where there is no alignment with natural talents opens the door to heartache and misery. 

Let’s just play out John’s thinking here.  How would you like to attend a church where the pastor has no talent, skill or passion for that position – but he was just “willing and obedient?”  How long would you attend that church?

Apply this thinking to any work.  Would you want a doctor who had no skill but thought he was “called” to the medical profession?  How about a teacher who had a passion for being an artist but was convinced through well-meaning family that she was “called” to be a teacher? 

I’ve met with too many pastors, missionaries, and teachers who were obedient and willing, but whose natural skills did not line up with what their attempts to do something “Godly.”  Many confused “calling” with the family tradition or the expectations of others.  And their work was frustrating, spiritually depleting and ultimately led to a crisis that required change.

When there is an alignment of our skills, abilities, talents, personality traits and passions we will recognize God’s “call.”  We will experience work that is fulfilling, meaningful, purposeful – and profitable. 


“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Frederick Buechner