D121 - All of us have gifts (talents)
In Matt 25:14-18, Jesus explained the parable of the talents – three servants were given talents – one was entrusted with five talents, another was given two, and the last one with one.
The Greek word for ‘talent’ is talanton and it is a specific amount of silver or gold (something of high monetary value).
All of us are given some talents, with some of us having more than others.
We can quite easily substitute ‘talents’ with ‘gifts’ (or natural abilities) or even ‘skills’; some are natural while others we pick up through learning. Truly, they are intensely valuable and precious.
D122 - We are given different gifts
1 Cor 12:8-10 describes the various gifts given by the Holy Spirit – Word of knowledge, faith, healing, effecting of miracles, prophecy, the ability to distinguish spirits, the ability to speak various kinds of tongues, and the interpretation of tongues. These are gifts given by the Holy Spirit and many of them are supernatural.
Eph 4:11-13 talks about the gifts of the offices of apostleship, prophecies, evangelist, pastor and then teacher.
Observations will tell us that It does not matter whether we are Christians or non-Christians. As human beings, God has given all of us different types of gifts (natural abilities as well as those [skills and knowledge] we picked up through learning) and because we are ‘made in the image of God’ (James 3:9), we have the ability to use these gifts to create.
We are gifted differently as well as in different proportions.
D123 - We are to use our different gifts to glorify God
‘But now there are many members but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”, or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”’
Regardless of what we are capable of doing, we work together with our different gifts in order to grow the body of Christ and to do good works.
Eph 2:10 explains what we are created to do –
we are ‘created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.’
Eph 4:12-13 provides the following reasons:
- To equip the saints for works of ministry, and
- To build up the body of Christ.
Our gifts are to be used. In Matt 25:26, Jesus called out believers who do not use their gifts as ‘wicked, lazy slave.’
The Greek words for ‘wicked’ and ‘lazy’ are poneros and okneros; poneros means evil, bad, wicked, malicious, slothful, and okneros means slothful, backward, hesitating, irksome.
Those are seriously heavy words and they are given to those who fail to use them for the purposes defined even in Eph 4:12-13.
It is not so much the quantity of talents (or amount of gifts) that we possess but more so in terms of what we do with them. To the one who failed to use his one and only talent, the Master would reply,
‘You wicked, lazy slave’ (Matt 25:26).
D124 - There are supernatural spiritual gifts
1 Cor 12:8-10 describes the various gifts given by the Holy Spirit –
- Word of knowledge,
- effecting of miracles,
- the ability to distinguish spirits,
- the ability to speak various kinds of tongues, and
- the interpretation of tongues.
These are gifts given by the Holy Spirit and many of them are supernatural.
Our Lord Jesus demonstrated the word of knowledge in his encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well whom he met for the first time when he could tell her that , You have had five husbands and the one whom you now have is not your husband’ (John 4:18). That brought about a revelation and an evangelistic opportunity to the entire village.
Paul told us in 1 Cor 14:39 to ‘earnestly desire to prophesy.’
As believers, we have the mandate to seek for supernatural spiritual gifts.
D125 - To believers who use their gifts, more will be given
In the parable of the sower, Jesus explained that
‘For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away’ (Matt 13:12).
Jesus then reiterated the same words in the parable of the talents (Matt 25:29).
In the parable of the lamp, he used the same words again (Luke 8:18).
Jesus was never a pure socialist, taking away from the rich and redistributing the wealth to the poor in order to ‘balance a society.’
Having said that, Jesus showed us what true compassion for the disadvantaged was. On one occasion, he inconvenienced himself by taking a boat across the Sea of Galilee to a rural place of Gadarenes just so that he could cast out the demons from two demon-possessed men (Matt 8:28-34).
Jesus expected all believers to use their gifts for the good of the body (community) and those who did, Jesus promised to give them more because of their faithfulness. Meanwhile, to those who did not use that which were given to them, Jesus also had a promise – that
‘from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away’ (Matt 13:12)
And to those who did not use their gifts, Jesus called them ‘wicked and lazy’, terms which are mighty strong.
More than that, Jesus finished by saying,
‘Cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place threw will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (that is, in hell)’ (Matt 25:30).
- S146 – Choose not to work/ not to use our talents – slothful and lazy and
- B313 – Makes use of our talents and gifts.