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Developing Our Talents

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Text: Matthew 25:14-30

I once heard the story about a young man who called over the phone to check up on the effectiveness of his work at his work. He called the lady he worked for posing as a young man who was looking for yard work. He asked her if it were possible that he do some work for her. The lady thanked him and said that she was not interested as she mentioned that she already had a young man who was working on her yard. Then, he began to put his work to the test. "Well is this young man always on time? Does he do a good job?" The lady responded positively to both of these questions. She thanked him for his offer as she began to suggest some neighbors that might hire him as the conversation came to a close.

Although he posed as someone else looking for work, he was also checking up on his work in its efficiency. When it comes to our Christian service in the kingdom of God here on earth, how is our work? God has invested talent in each and everyone one of us. God looks at our abilities and sees not just who we are, but who we can become and what we can accomplish for His glory.

I. The Distribution of the Talents

 A. Talents are Given According to One’s Ability.

  1. Each servant had potential.

   a. Potential is what we call undeveloped skill.

  • Potential is that God-given skill or ability that has been walking the sidelines in the people that we are that looks for the opportunity to be unlocked and developed.

   b. High School Yearbooks or Annuals (the Senior class)

    1. Special status by their peers---wittiest, most popular, best dressed, most talented, most spirited, most intelligent, friendliest, best looking, best all around, most athletic, most dependable and last but not least, most likely to succeed.

   c. God has given all of us talents that we have the potential to develop.

    1. God has given us each of these talents with His hope that we will succeed and be fruitful and bring glory to Him.

  2. Each servant had a responsibility.

   a. Responsible for the talents that they had been given.

   b. God has entrusted us with the talents that He has invested in us.

    1. We have an obligation to be all we can be and do all that we can do in developing these talents

   c. "A pastor tells of standing by his father’s tombstone and reading the words, "Born 1884 - Died 1970." It suddenly occurred to him how much the little dash between those two dates symbolized".(Herb Miller. Actions Speak Louder Than Verbs. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1988, p. 124).

    1. WE are responsible for what we do with the dashes between those dates that will appear on our tombstones.

II. The Investment of the Talents

 A. Metaphorically Spoken of Gifts and Abilities

  1. The master who was giving these talents expected his servants to invest…increase.

  2. The only way that they could succeed was to apply what they had been given.

  • Just as a seed cannot grow unless it is planted, so a talent cannot increase unless it has been invested.

  3. Investing the talent meant that work was required.

 B. A Principle Involved: Investing Always Involves a Risk

  1. The Master didn’t give the talents to be stored for safekeeping until he had gotten back.

   a. If that had been his intention, he could have done that himself.

  2. For the servants to invest the talents that they had been given meant that they had to take a risk.

   a. Success isn’t always automatic: it takes time and effort for an investment to be profitable.

  • "The history books are full of stories of gifted persons whose talents were overlooked by a procession of people until someone believed in them. To name a few ...

1.      "Einstein was four years old before he could speak and seven before he could read. Einstein became one of the greatest physicists who ever lived.1

2.      "Isaac Newton did poorly in grade school". Newton, like Einstein was one of the smartest people of his day as a scientist.2

3.      "A newspaper fired Walt Disney because he had "no good ideas". Listen to the rest of the story about Mr. Disney. "It is reported that Walt Disney was not only a remarkable man but also a remarkably happy man. Somewhere recently there was a story about his early years. When he started out in Kansas City, he couldn’t sell his cartoons. Some hinted that he had no talent. Disney had a dream, so he set out to conquer his foes. He found a minister who paid him a small amount to draw advertising pictures for his church. Disney had no place to stay, so that the church let him sleep in the mouse-infested garage. One of those mice which Disney nicknamed Mickey, became famous---as the world knows. How satisfying life must have been for Disney when he remembered the hard struggle from lean years spent in a church garage". 3

4.      "Werner von Braun failed ninth grade algebra". Later in life he became a rocket engineer.

3.      All of these people succeeded because they were willing to take the risk and invest themselves and apply their God-given talents.

III. The Reward

 A. The Settling of the Accounts

  1. Pleased with the first two (doubled the talents given).

   a. They proved they were worthy of handling more and were rewarded with more  (Matt. 25:21,23).

   b. The master also complemented them highly  - “Well done thy good and faithful servant”
  2. Displeased with the third servant (he had hid what had been entrusted to him)
   a. Called “wicked & lazy” - he never made an effort to invest what he had been given.

   b. It was because of his laziness that what he had was taken away from him because he never made an investment with the talent that he was given.

 B. God Is Looking for “Faithfulness”
  1. Regardless of the amount or the type of talent that we have been given. Matthew 25:29
  2. Modern terminology of Matthew 25:29-----"use it or lose it".

Conclusion: As Christian disciples, we have been entrusted with both our God-given talents (abilities) and the good news of the gospel so that we might be faithful and fruitful in investing what God has entrusted to us. If we want to succeed, then we must invest what God has entrusted us with. ".

1Alan Loy McGinnis. Bringing Out The Best In People, 1985, p. 34

2Alan Loy McGinnis. Bringing Out The Best In People, 1985, p. 34

3Ernest A. Fitzgerald. Keeping Pace: Inspirations In The Air, 1988, p. 18

4Alan Loy McGinnis. Bringing Out The Best In People, 1985, p. 34

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