Today we’re gonna talk about talents.
I know, I know…you probably think you don’t have any, or at least any that are very useful, but humor me.
In Matthew 25:14-30 we see one of Jesus’ parables, a pretty well-known one, about talents (which are actual money in this case), but they are often used as a metaphor for abilities. It’s just too convenient that it worked out that way. So, in the Jesus’ story, this pretty wealthy boss man is going on a long trip, and he wants to make sure that his business dealings are still in good shape while he’s away. In order to do this, he separates chunks of money into the hands of three of his servants, and basically says “let’s see what you can do.” Obviously, he liked the first guy a lot, since he gave him five talents, the second guy got two, and the last guy got one. It’s not very clear what methods the first two guys use, but they, apparently have been taking notes from their very successful master, because they both DOUBLE what was entrusted to them. I don’t know about you but doubling your boss’s money has got to feel pretty good. The last guy, well, he struggled a bit. He was SO afraid of screwing up, that he literally buried the money away so that he wouldn’t lose it and make the boss mad (SPOILER ALERT: boss got mad anyway).
Ok, so, as I mentioned last time, I do best when concepts are related to stories; it makes it easier for me to connect with them and apply them to my life. This week I heard “Avengers.” I’m going to assume, with the huge superhero explosion in the past several years, that most of us are at least loosely familiar with the Avengers; a group of pretty cool heroes working together to fight evil forces. Each member of the team has unique abilities, and that is what makes them powerful. First let’s look at my personal favorite, Black Widow.
Black Widow is an insanely intelligent woman, a kick-tail martial artist, tactician, and a world-class manipulator. Sure, she has the benefit of biotechnology on her side, but she also hones her craft like nobody’s business. She doesn’t have a suit like iron man or any cool wings to make her fly, but her dedication to her craft make her indispensible.
On the other hand, we have The Hulk; you know, the guy who blows up and turns green when he’s angry. His abilities are actually an accident. He never meant for them to happen. In fact, he is insanely afraid of them, and his alter-ego, Bruce, HATES being The Hulk for fear of the damage he can cause. Based on the most recent movie (purists don’t hate me), Bruce actually runs away. He leaves the Avengers behind and hides so that no one can be in danger. Here’s the thing – they actually need him. He provides a set of skills that none of the others on the team can match. He has talents that they don’t have, even though he believes that they can do the job better.
God has given each of us talents. They may not be what you would choose. They may not be what you THINK is valuable. However, if you are here, if you are alive and serving, then God has equipped you for a purpose. Sure, maybe you’re not Captain America, but not everyone can fill that role, or else we would all kill each other trying to be in control.
So are you going to be a Black Widow, and hone your skills, or a Hulk and hide from them, in turn denying your teammates of the assistance that they so desperately need. It’s your call.
Gather with us this Sunday for a special message in our ongoing Out of the Blue series.