Finding Joy as We Seek Out and Use Our Talents
If you ever meet my sweet Kallie (7yrs) and Ty (4 yrs) in person, don’t be surprised if when they introduce themselves, they also supply a list of their talents. It sounds like this: “I’m Kallie, my talents are singing, swimming, dancing, and reading. What are your talents?” Truly. It’s like “Hi, I’m Olaf and I like warm hugs” type of thing. They love telling people their talents, and at first I was embarrassed when they would do this. I could tell by people’s reactions that they didn’t really know what to do with it, and they definitely didn’t feel comfortable telling Kallie what their talents were. I didn’t want my kids to be boastful or all, “look at me”. So I asked Kallie why she did this and her answer was “because then they know what I can do, so if they need help or something.” Out of the mouth of babes, right?
In Matthew 25 we find the story of a master who gave each of his three servants a sum of money. The amounts were set according to each servant’s previously demonstrated capabilities. The master then left for a long time. When he returned, he asked each of these servants to report what he had done with the money. The first two servants revealed they had doubled his investment in them. “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord,” was the master’s reply (Matt. 25:21; see also Matt. 25:23). The third servant then came trembling before his master. He had already heard what the others had reported and knew that he could not give a similar report. “I was afraid,” the servant said, “and went and hid thy talent in the earth” (Matt. 25:25). The master was upset. “Thou wicked and slothful servant,” he said. Then he commanded, “Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents” (Matt. 25:26, 28). The Savior then gave the interpretation of the parable: Those who obtain other talents receive more talents in abundance. But those who do not obtain other talents shall lose even the talents they had initially (see Matt. 25:28–29).
We are each blessed with unique talents. And the Lord has made it clear that it is not enough for us to return to Him with only the talents He has given us. We are supposed to improve and multiply those talents, and he promises us that if we do we will enter into the “joy of the Lord”. Did you notice what motivated the unwise servant to hide his talents? Yep, fear. We cannot fear man more than God. I have feelings of fear EVERY TIME I go to push the publish button on something I have written, but I desire to be a better writer in order to share the gospel. So I push publish anyway.
Sometimes we may find it hard to pinpoint our own talents. I love what Elder Ronald A. Rasband (a leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) suggests about that:
“Seek earnestly to discover the talents the Lord has given you. The talents God has given us first become apparent in the interests we pursue. If you are wondering about your talents, make a list of the things you like to do. Include all the activities you enjoy from different dimensions of your life—spiritual, musical, dramatic, academic, athletic, and so on. Study and ponder your patriarchal blessing for insights and inspiration. Consult family members, trusted friends, teachers, and leaders; others often can see in us what we find difficult to see in ourselves.”
I’m not suggesting you introduce yourself with your list of talents (even though it might make for a good laugh). But Kallie has got it right, we have to desire, search, work, and pray, for talents with the motivation to bless others. You are SO TALENTED my friends. Do not be afraid to let them shine for the glorious purpose God gave them to you.