February 16, 2021

Talent - Use It or Lose It

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Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What's a sundial in the shade?
Benjamin Franklin 

Have you ever seen someone waste their God-given talents? It’s brutal to see someone who is full of potential and possibility not use their talents, gifts, and opportunities. Do you ever wonder how you can use your own gifts and talents in more meaningful ways? We were made to use what we have been given. Each person is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27), fearfully and wonderfully made as they were knit together by their Creator (Psalm 139:13-14), with gifts and talents to serve the world and glorify the One who made them (Isaiah 43:7). 

Talent Responsibility

There are many ways to discover your talents. You can ask your friends, take a talent assessment, read books like StrenthsFinder 2.0, pay attention to what you are naturally drawn to, consider what you loved as a child, or even stop and look to see where you spend your time and money. All of those clues can give you an indication of your gifts, but the best way to know your talents is to get busy using them. One of the world’s most famous thinkers and inventors, Albert Einstein, said it this way: “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” That truth applies to both physical and intellectual talents. When we are in pursuit of utilizing what we have, we discover our gifts. Muhammad Ali said, “I had it in my heart. I believed in myself, and I had confidence. I knew how to do it, had natural talent and I pursued it.” The Bible is full of wisdom and examples of putting talents to use, perhaps none more clear than the Parable of the Talents (Bags of Gold). 

 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

“The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

“Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” (Matthew 25:14-30)

This parable is full of truth and concludes with a startling warning. It reminds us that all gifts are from God, and that his expectation is for us to use the gifts, resources, and opportunities we have been given. 

Fast, Far, And Furious

In the summer of 2012, on a short trip to Kenya, I met Dr. Henry Krabbendam. During our time at Africa Bible College, I heard him give a talk on the importance of exhausting all God-given talents. 

He started by teaching from these words in 1st Peter:

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies-in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” - 1 Peter 4:10-11

Dr. Krabbendam made it clear that our gifts are not about us or our personal gain. Instead, he reminded us that God gave each person gifts to be used to let others know about Himself. Dr. Krabbendam identified three core gifts from God: evangelism, speaking, and serving. They are the core gifts because they are the things God’s Word makes clear His people need. All other gifts are derivatives of those gifts. Therefore, if we have the gift of making things with our hands, we should use that gift to serve others. He said, “people who do not know their gifts are ignorant, lazy, or do not believe in God.” He taught that to confirm a gift we simply need to “do the three Fs.”

First, use it “fast to serve others.” Then, as God confirms the call in our hearts and minds, we must take our gifts and talents to “far places” where there is a need. Lastly, Dr. Krabbendam says we should do this in a “furious manner—as if we will not again have the chance to use our gifts.” He proclaimed that by doing this God confirms and strengthens our gifts and allow us “to grow them in power and people.” He said all of this should be done daily to “employ your gifts in an unstoppable manner.”

When we do this God makes our talents and our next steps clear. Consider the life of the Apostle Paul, C. S. Lewis , Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., or Harriet Tubman.

You might be thinking, “But, I am just a contractor (or designer, or maintenance manager, or financial advisor, or bond trader, or homemaker, or maybe even a CEO).” You might be tempted to think the quotes from Ali, Einstein, and Franklin apply more to you and your profession than what the Bible teaches. But that is exactly Dr. Krabbendam’s point. Everything we do falls under the three gifts he describes. We were made for those reasons—to serve, evangelize, and speak in a way that is fast, far, and furious.

In “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made” Ellie Holcomb sings “if only we would see ourselves the way God see us.” When we see ourselves as God sees us we understand that no matter what our vocation or profession, we must be true to how we were made and remember that our “why” as ambassadors of the King is to live a life of true significance and meaning. God gave us everything we need to live a full life where we know our gifts and use them in ways that multiply our trust in Him and deepen the meaning and purpose of our daily life.

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Howard Graham
Howard Graham
Executive Director
Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What's a sundial in the shade?
Benjamin Franklin 

Have you ever seen someone waste their God-given talents? It’s brutal to see someone who is full of potential and possibility not use their talents, gifts, and opportunities. Do you ever wonder how you can use your own gifts and talents in more meaningful ways? We were made to use what we have been given. Each person is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27), fearfully and wonderfully made as they were knit together by their Creator (Psalm 139:13-14), with gifts and talents to serve the world and glorify the One who made them (Isaiah 43:7). 

Talent Responsibility

There are many ways to discover your talents. You can ask your friends, take a talent assessment, read books like StrenthsFinder 2.0, pay attention to what you are naturally drawn to, consider what you loved as a child, or even stop and look to see where you spend your time and money. All of those clues can give you an indication of your gifts, but the best way to know your talents is to get busy using them. One of the world’s most famous thinkers and inventors, Albert Einstein, said it this way: “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” That truth applies to both physical and intellectual talents. When we are in pursuit of utilizing what we have, we discover our gifts. Muhammad Ali said, “I had it in my heart. I believed in myself, and I had confidence. I knew how to do it, had natural talent and I pursued it.” The Bible is full of wisdom and examples of putting talents to use, perhaps none more clear than the Parable of the Talents (Bags of Gold). 

 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

“The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

“Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” (Matthew 25:14-30)

This parable is full of truth and concludes with a startling warning. It reminds us that all gifts are from God, and that his expectation is for us to use the gifts, resources, and opportunities we have been given. 

Fast, Far, And Furious

In the summer of 2012, on a short trip to Kenya, I met Dr. Henry Krabbendam. During our time at Africa Bible College, I heard him give a talk on the importance of exhausting all God-given talents. 

He started by teaching from these words in 1st Peter:

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies-in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” - 1 Peter 4:10-11

Dr. Krabbendam made it clear that our gifts are not about us or our personal gain. Instead, he reminded us that God gave each person gifts to be used to let others know about Himself. Dr. Krabbendam identified three core gifts from God: evangelism, speaking, and serving. They are the core gifts because they are the things God’s Word makes clear His people need. All other gifts are derivatives of those gifts. Therefore, if we have the gift of making things with our hands, we should use that gift to serve others. He said, “people who do not know their gifts are ignorant, lazy, or do not believe in God.” He taught that to confirm a gift we simply need to “do the three Fs.”

First, use it “fast to serve others.” Then, as God confirms the call in our hearts and minds, we must take our gifts and talents to “far places” where there is a need. Lastly, Dr. Krabbendam says we should do this in a “furious manner—as if we will not again have the chance to use our gifts.” He proclaimed that by doing this God confirms and strengthens our gifts and allow us “to grow them in power and people.” He said all of this should be done daily to “employ your gifts in an unstoppable manner.”

When we do this God makes our talents and our next steps clear. Consider the life of the Apostle Paul, C. S. Lewis , Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., or Harriet Tubman.

You might be thinking, “But, I am just a contractor (or designer, or maintenance manager, or financial advisor, or bond trader, or homemaker, or maybe even a CEO).” You might be tempted to think the quotes from Ali, Einstein, and Franklin apply more to you and your profession than what the Bible teaches. But that is exactly Dr. Krabbendam’s point. Everything we do falls under the three gifts he describes. We were made for those reasons—to serve, evangelize, and speak in a way that is fast, far, and furious.

In “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made” Ellie Holcomb sings “if only we would see ourselves the way God see us.” When we see ourselves as God sees us we understand that no matter what our vocation or profession, we must be true to how we were made and remember that our “why” as ambassadors of the King is to live a life of true significance and meaning. God gave us everything we need to live a full life where we know our gifts and use them in ways that multiply our trust in Him and deepen the meaning and purpose of our daily life.

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