Below you’re going to find some inspiration about three God-given gifts and abilities you could be hiding today. But first… a story!
A land owner, a kind and rich business man, comes to three of his employees with a proposal
“I will be going away for a few weeks, but when I return we will be having a large celebration. I need you all to help me prepare it.”
He knew the first woman was especially good with preparing food in a variety of ways and knew she could make an unforgettable feast. He brought her to a large kitchen, and provided her with all the ingredients she would need. She marveled at it all, jand got straight to work.
The second woman was particulary good with any art and painting. So he commissioned three pieces of art in honour of the celebration. He gave her canvases, paint and brushes and showed her a beautiful atelier where she could paint to her heart’s content.
Since the owner loved music, he requested the third woman compose a song in honour of the feast. He took her to a beautiful piano in his personal music room, and told her to write something he would love. “This piano belongs to you now, use it well!” he said to her.
Over those few weeks the first woman planned and prepared. She found more unique ingredients from the area and created new recipes. Then she thought of two other talented people who would be suitable in helping her in create this feast fit for a king and trained them.
The second woman created not three pieces of artwork, but five! Each piece represented a season in one of the the owners’ local farms and a fifth piece portraying a scene of the owner and his employees in their daily life together.
The third woman was totally terrified with the thought of playing a song in front of the owner.
“What if he hated it?” “What if people laughed at her?” She thought. “Oh, he doesn’t really care anyway.”
She barely touched the piano she was so afraid. She decided she’d clean it for him instead, and then watched a movie to forget about her discomfort. “Maybe, he’ll appreciate that it’s clean and untouched?” she wondered.
He returned the day of the feast to see how the women were faring. After looking around at everything prepared by the first woman his eyes sparkled. “You have created a fantastic feast, and have invested into the future of my business by training more people! From now on, this entire kitchen belongs to you. You shall be promoted to my vice-president and help me run my entire business.
The second woman revealed the five paintings one by one. The owner marvelled at each of her unique representations of the seasons of one of his local farms. After the unveiling of the fifth, he was overjoyed, “I did not expect this!” he exclaimed, “you’ve captured our lives together with such mastery.” You have done well, from now on the atelier belongs to you, and I will provide whatever tools that you require to keep painting such beautiful pieces. You and these five pieces will travel the world with me on an art tour that depicts our area and work. It will be the experience of a lifetime.
Timidly, the third woman came to him. Full of expectation, he walked with her into his music room. “Sir,” she said, “I know that you have high expectations, so I was afraid and I have nothing to show you but that your piano is still here and clean.”
Shaking his head in great displeasure, he was sad when he spoke to the woman.
“I gave you this task because I knew that you could do it. You have every talent and resource needed. All you had to do to please me was to use those things I gave to you. From now on this piano, which was yours, will be given to the first woman for I know she will make good use of it.”
He ended with this, “Look, if I give someone resources and talents, I want them to use it and manage those things well. If they waste it or hide it in fear, I will take them away and give more to those who are already using what I’ve given.”
If you haven’t guessed it already, this is my rendition of Matthew 25:14-30
The Parable of the Talents. I’ve always found this to be both an intriguing and convicting parable. Here God is portrayed as a sort of wealthy business man, with high expectations of his employees.
In a few moments we are going to look at three things you may not be using, but before that I have a couple of questions for you:
How do you feel when you hear this story? Which woman do you most identify with?
I think Jesus used this story to wake people up.
In fact, right before Jesus tells this parable, he catches our attention with the Parable of the Ten Virgins. There are five foolish virgins who didn’t have enough oil for their lamps and five wise virgins who were all ready to go. When the bridegroom arrives in the middle of the night, the five foolish virgins are out shopping and the ones who are good to go are waiting in anticipation and get to go the wedding party. Jesus uses this story to remind us to stay awake, be ready, and prepare for his return. It’s interesting how Jesus uses stories as reminders that we should be prepared for his arrival, they evoke so much emotion and self reflection in such a gentle but powerful way.
I think he uses oil as an illustration of us being ready with everything we have: our talents, money, resources, and giftings etc so that we can be a light and glorify the king.
Before we get to those three things you may not be using, let’s look at a couple of scriptures.
Ephesians 2:10 and Philippians 4:19 confirm that we are created with a plan and a purpose with ALL the resources and talent that are required to do the good works he’s prepared for us.
10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
and in Philippians it says:
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
3 Gifts and Abilities You May Not be Using Today
1. Could it be your money? You’re careful at saving, and spending it wisely, but has God given you this gift so that you walk in the calling of being irrationally generous?
2. Perhaps you have a talent you’re hiding? You’re too embarrassed to create a painting that is sub-par in your opinion, so you don’t do anything. But the King is waiting for you to stop hiding it under a bucket and exemplify his glory using your hands. Start small and simple. Meditate on your favourite verse, put your brush to the canvas and paint together with the master artist.
3. Maybe it’s writing, your head is filled with poetry and stories but you have managed to get anything out of your head onto paper. In that case, it may be helpful to start the habit of writing something every day (no matter how simple and small) to get you started on developing those words of yours. God created using WORDS, check out the jewelry my friend makes with words. What a precious gift to be able to use them co-create with the ultimate wordsmith.
I hope those three things get your creative juices flowing, and help you think about what God-given gifts and abilities you already have!
Next week I’m going to share with you a huge fourth thing that most people ignore.
But right now I have a hard question for you.
What are you wasting?
What has God given to you that you’re hiding under a bucket?
A Change of Perspective about your God-given Gifts and Abilities
But before I finish, I have a story to tell you along with this verse in Matthew 5: 14- 16 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.
15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Every good thing God has given you is for a reason and a purpose.
He gives gifts for you to give.
This reminds me of an illustration used by some friends of mine as they were teaching about the Holy Spirit, and I think it works well here too.
There is as man who gives a woman a gift to pass on to her neighbor. She is so excited about receiving the gift that she doesn’t actually pass it on. Rather, she stands there looking at it, admiring it, turning it around in her hands, but doesn’t pass it on. She is just totally enamored with having the gift. The man reminds her that the gift is actually for her neighbor, it’s not actually hers. The woman continues to gaze at the gift, and finally it’s taking so long for her to pass it on that it’s getting a bit ridiculous.
Finally, after a bit more pressure from the original giver of the gift, she finally gives it to her neighbor who receives it with joy.
I like this illustration because all too often we think we OWN our time, talents, resources or even spiritual gifts that we actually hoard them. Though the WHOLE reason God has given those things to us is to pass them on to others.
To recap today we talked about two parables, the Parable of the Talents and the Parable of the Virgins. We see that Jesus wants us to be ready and prepared for when he returns. He has entrusted us with resources, time and talents and he has high expectations in how we use them. Next time we will talk about one other thing you are probably ignoring.
So let’s end with this question: is there a gift God has given you that you can you pass on today?
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