Just the other day I was walking in the mall with some friends, doing my usual late Christmas shopping. As I came among a large crowd of boys and girls, mommies and daddies, and grandmas and grandpas, thugs, preps, wannabees, and whatever else one may find at the mall, I noticed that they were all amazed at what stood before them. No, it wasn’t Santa and his golden throne, the short lil’ elves, or anything at all to do with the mall Christmas scene. It was a young lad, probably the age 20 or so, doing a juggling act! As I slowly stopped to take a look I noticed that this guy was not just your average juggler. He was not just juggling the classic 3 green tennis balls or pretty bright oranges; he was juggling all kinds of random objects! Being someone with a short attention span, his act captured my attention as he tossed up a couple of torches with some of those sharp long ninja knifes, all while he casually balanced himself on top of a basketball! As I watched him, the very first word that came into my mind was talent.
Talent…what a word!
The word talent is used quite often in today’s culture. We normally use the word to describe a person’s extraordinary ability to do something. This word is not only used in the secular culture, but also in our churches. As a teenager, I heard tons and tons of things in church about “using my talents for God” or “not wasting my talents.” I even thought that when Jesus was teaching the parable of the talents to his disciples (Matt. 25:14-30) he was talking about talents like from a “talent show”. Since I didn’t know how to shuffle board, river dance, rap, sing, write poems, hit home runs, or make 100 on my Algebra II exam, I wanted to know what in the world Jesus meant when he used that word.
Talent…what does Jesus really say about it?
(Read Matthew 25:14-30)
In the passage Jesus was talking about the kingdom of God to his disciples. He was instructing them about how the kingdom is going to work when he is gone. In this parable Jesus was purposely trying to help his disciples, and those that were following him, understand their lives rightly.
Keep in mind…
- A talent was a unit of money.
- Jesus’ parables were told to illustrate a point.
- The purpose of this parable is not necessarily to teach us on how we should handle our money. The meaning is much bigger!
- Jesus used this parable to illustrate the amount of grace that he has offered to us all.
- We are each accountable for the talents (or amount of grace) that Christ has given us.
- Jesus wants us to invest in the grace that he has given us to build up his kingdom.
Countless times I have seen this same scenario: A youth group has a high school student with an unbelievable heart for God, and based on that alone, they always receive the comment “you should be a pastor” or “you should be a missionary.” Of course the Bible says that we are to preach the gospel to every living creature, but the question is what God-given talents are we using to get that message to the world?
A talent used without God…
Christians often become frustrated with all the “junk” that the world is putting out. I often hear “That Eminem is filling those kids minds up with the most terrible stuff!” or “Look what the newspaper is saying about Christ and Christianity” or “Don’t watch that movie, it has New Age influences.” There is only one explanation for all the “junk” being promoted by the world and it is simply because those that are leading this generation are lost!
Question: Where are the Christians?!?!?!
Did God give the talents of painting, drawing, composing music, writing screen plays, writing newspaper articles, and creative arts to only the lost people of the world? CERTAINLY NOT! Just because God doesn’t give certain people the gift to pastor or youth minister, etc. doesn’t mean that they cannot build up the kingdom of God. Without a doubt there are too many Christians out there that are hiding their talents, but need not to be ashamed to use all of their God-given abilities the sake of Christ (Eph. 2:10; Col.3: 17; 2 Tim. 1:9).
Throughout history God used the talents of Christians to influence the world (just to name a few…. Rembrandt, Augustine, Patrick Henry, George Washington Carver, Isaac Newton, Galileo Galilei, Martin Luther, CS Lewis, and the list goes on). What are Christians doing today?
Christians, it is time for us to once again influence the world, instead of the world influencing us! Through Christ we have the power to influence the world with our God-given talents! Just remember that you have the most powerful life-changing message to proclaim! Whatever talent God wants you to have whether a painter, writer, lawyer, or even a juggler… God wants to take those talents, multiply them, and use them to build His kingdom!