“To one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one bag — each according to his own ability.” – Matthew 25:15
This passage from Matthew 25:14-30 is known as “The Parable of the Talents.” The word “talent” is not referencing your ability to juggle eggs. A talent is a measure of mass, a weight. Some translations say the men received a talent of gold. Others say a talent of silver. In either case, whether gold or silver, the servants were given different amounts according to their own ability. Was this fair? No. Was it equitable? Yes.
Life can be frustrating if you measure your success based on someone else’s ability. We have different abilities and our lives take the shape of our ability. The secret to success is not to get what someone else has, but to optimize what has been given to you.
In the parable, the servant who had been given the five talents, used his to earn five more. He put in work and made a profit for his master. The servant who received two talents also doubled his talents. He was able to give the master four talents. One servant gave the master ten talents. The other gave the master only four talents. However, the master said to both of them, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
God doesn’t expect you to produce the same things that others do. He expects you to give your best effort with what you have. Notice that the two guys who put in the effort to use their talents, were both given the same reward. However, the one who did nothing with his talent for the master got nothing.
The master in this parable is God and the servant is you. Whether you’ve been given a single talent or a whole heaping five bags full, you have the ability to do something for God. Being a Christian is more than just waiting around with your sanctified friends for Jesus to return. We should be working until He arrives. We should be optimizing our talent to profit the kingdom. Though I’ve heard it a hundred times from pulpits all around the country, “don’t bury your talent,” I think the more important lesson in this parable is that life is not fair. You may not get the same opportunity that your neighbor does. You do get an opportunity, nonetheless.
You didn’t get loving parents. You didn’t get a husband. You grew up poor. You didn’t go to college. You’re a woman. You’re a minority. You’re old. You’re young. Listen up! Whatever you have that works, work it for God. If you take your one thing and give it your best effort, you can produce something good for God.
If you can draw. Teach some kids to draw. If you can cook. Cook a meal for the hungry. If you have nothing but the teeth in your mouth, then smile at someone and brighten their day. No matter who you are or what you have, there is something you can do to help another person and let your light shine.