I’ve spent much of my life in the past, thinking in negative terms; believing that I don’t have the right amount of skills/ tools/ space/ time/ abilities/ confidence……to get on with whatever is on my heart, but as I’ve aged that opinion has gradually changed.

All too often, we choose to live from a misaligned view that relies totally on our inadequate resources instead of trusting in the all-sufficient provision of God.
We bemoan the deficiency we perceive in our lives, instead of making the most of what is in our hands.

So, in keeping with these thoughts,I’ve been looking at the New Testament parable of the talents, and wondering "What's in my hands?"

The Parable of the Talents

For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.
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...
Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them.
Matthew 25: 14-30, ESV version

Hands and TalentsHere’s what I’ve been pondering as I stitched the hands of the Master generously gifting the eight denarius to his servants…

We all have access to different things alongside a range of individual skills and talents, but the point is that whatever they might be, we have each been entrusted with something and are expected to be astute to make use of all that we have.

When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required. Luke 12: 47-49, NLT version

The parable of the talents, at first reading seems harsh, but there are several things to consider in this analogy of God, as the man who goes away entrusting his servants (us) with differing value of gifts.

Each is given according to ability...
One talent doesn’t seem very much on paper, but apparently a talent was worth 6,000 denaraii, and one denarius was the value of a days labour. That means that a single talent alone, was worth 20 years labour! Imagine the value in todays terms to realise the amount of responsibility given to each servant! What would you do with the gift of twenty years wages? Spend it, hide it, invest it…or something else?
What are we each doing now with our generous God-given gifts?

Receive the gifts you’ve been entrusted with...
Nothing we have is ours…all is entrusted to us by God, the Father not just for safekeeping but for utilising to its full potential. As it says in the response after the offering in the Anglican liturgy “Everything we have is yours. We only give you what is yours already.” We are caretakers and stewards of all Gods gifts.

Act swiftly to embrace all you’ve been given...
Embrace and accept all you’ve been given and give thanks. It’s all too easy to resist our own gifting as we look at the perceived better gifts of others, or hesitate so long in acting that our procrastination means we end up with no more than we started with. The astute servants acted “at once”, knowing what to do. We have enough. We are enough, for all that God has set before us. Life is for living, and putting to good use all that we have been given.

It's our Choice...
When we embrace and use what we have, our gifting grows and our spiritual life thrives, as we recognise the abundance we have been given. If we spend our time grieving over what we do not have, we can easily become resentful, living from a place of scarcity rather than abundance.

With opportunity comes responsibility...
We are to steward our gifts responsibly; managing and look after them, not just collecting them like trophies, but sharing them and using them for the good of the community around us and those in need.

Hands Talents Seeds of Growth

Invest in your gifts...
Growing and improving gifts often takes hard graft, and may involve risk of failure or loss, but this does not mean that we should be satisfied with the status quo. Just as an athlete, artisan or entrepreneur works hard to improve and hone their skills, so too are we expected to invest in our God given gifts. We don’t improve our skills by not using them. It takes practice, application, hard work and experience to get better at something. We learn by making mistakes, not by hiding our talents for fear of getting something wrong.

Be faithful and honest in your dealings...
As we work to improve our gifts and talents, we are still expected to be honest and faithful to God, not walking over others to get where we want to be, but enabling others and working alongside them with kindness and humility.

Be accountable...
God will call us to account for how we have utilised our “talents” to further His Kingdom. We are warned that here will be a reckoning, which feels a bit scary….but we can trust in our loving Lord, that if in obedience, we act prayerfully to sow the seeds of our talents, wherever we walk, then he will enable our actions of planting, nurturing, stewarding, and investing to grow into something of great spiritual worth.

We have enough to complete all that we are expected to do; all that God has laid on our hearts.
We are given generous gifts that are to be invested in and stewarded astutely.

We are to live from a place of abundance not with a scarcity mentality, for God has given us all we need. What He has asked us to do may not be easy; it could well be risky but if we believe fully the life we are called to, then we can look forward at the end of our journey for our Lord to welcome us home with the words "Well done, good and faithful servant."

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