“He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money.” (Matthew 25:16-18)
In this part of the parable of the talents, we see what the servants actually did with their talents while the master was away. And this is the part I get fired up about. Talking about what you do with your giftings gets me a tad bit excited.
Here’s how it worked out in Jesus’ parable: The first man took his talents, conducted business with them, and made five more talents. Doubled his investment. The second man took his talent and made two more talents. He, too, doubled his investment. The third servant, on the other hand, dug a hole in the ground and hid his talent. He did nothing productive with it.
And for just a couple of seconds, I want to talk real straight with you. If digging holes to hide your talent is something you’re in the habit of doing, I might just need to give you a little kick in the pants, because you haven’t been doing anything with the talents God has given you. Remember, this parable has nothing to do with the number of talents these people had, but everything to do with what the person did with his talents after the master left town.
Why do you think you’ve been burying your talent?
Maybe you’ve been burying it because you think it’s not as good as someone else’s. You look around and compare yourself to others, and think you shouldn’t do anything with your talent because it’s so seemingly small.
Or maybe you bury your talent because you’ve been burned by trying to use your gifts and talents before, and you don’t want to feel that feeling ever again. You tried once and it didn’t go too well, so instead of trying again, you’ve decided to bury what God has given you out of fear of rejection, fear of the unknown, or fear of failure.
But here’s how you put a stop to that faulty logic. In order to be the kind of servant who puts yourself out there to double your talent, like the wise servants in Jesus’ story, you need to be willing to say, “This isn’t about me; this is about me using what God has given me to bring Him glory.”
I just want to burst your bubble for a moment, if you don’t mind. Your talents were never meant for you. They were given to you by the God of the universe so that you could serve others. As Peter the apostle said, writing in Scripture, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” The secret to being more faithful in using your talents is by turning your focus away from how they reflect on you and more on to how God can put them to work in helping the people around you.
When you think about it this way, it’ll take a bit of the fear out of your mind about using your gifts. It’ll free you up from either (1) thinking you’re Superwoman or (2) thinking you don’t matter for anything.
The reason the two men doubled their talents wasn’t because they were smarter businessmen than the third guy. The reason they were able to double their talents was simply because they did something with them. Look at what God has given you, and ask yourself how you’re using your talents to serve others around you. If you can’t come up with anything, you need to get your booty in gear and start doing something.
But let me tell you, even though I know I’m pushing you a little hard—I’m only doing it because of how hard I’ve had to push myself as well. This passage just messes me up. I don’t want to be a burier, though sometimes burying my talents has seemed way easier than stepping out of my comfort zone.