A Talent for Giving

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Talent: noun, plural talents.

1 a: any of several ancient units of weight

b: a unit of value equal to the value of a talent of gold or silver

2 archaic: a characteristic feature, aptitude, or disposition of a person or animal

3: the natural endowments of a person

4 a: a special often athletic, creative, or artistic aptitude

b: general intelligence or mental power: ability

5: a person of talent or a group of persons of talent in a field or activity

– merriam-webster.com

Stop!! Please, don’t click away! I really should stop using the G word in the titles of these. Don’t worry, I’m still not after your money. Yes, I know that “talent” was a unit of weight and money in biblical times. I am not talking about either of those. Instead, I am talking about the modern definition of talent as described in definitions three through five above. Sometimes these talents are natural abilities, though they are usually skills that you have been taught or learned through experience. Often they have been sharpened through practice.

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He says:

“When He ascended on high,

He led captivity captive,

And gave gifts to men.”

Ephesians 4:7-8

God has given everyone talents. Whether it be a natural ability or a learned skill, we all have a talent. Most of us have several. Things we’ve learned over the years and things for which we just seem to have an affinity or a genuine love. God has either built them into our genetic code or led us on an experiential path of growth that has allowed us to gain them.

I hate talking about myself because I don’t like attention (when I started writing I intended to use a pseudonym but my dad asked me why I was ashamed of his name so I don’t generally do so).  It always seems like bragging to me. In this case, however, I need to make a point so I’ll have to put aside the distaste for a while. I love to write, and I seem to have the ability to do so and make myself understood. I’ve also earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science and enjoy programming computers, although I no longer have a desire to do it for a living, unless I could do so while serving the Lord. Lastly, for the purpose of this blog, I worked as on air talent at one of the campus radio stations when I was at university.

What relevance does this stuff about me have to you? It doesn’t, other than to set up talents that I can use as examples. Your talents will most likely be different. Perhaps you are fluent in sign language. Maybe you sing like an angel or play an instrument or eight. Only you know what you have the ability to do. I do not, so I am stuck using myself as the example.

There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all

1 Corinthians 12:4-7

As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.  If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

1 Peter 4:10-11

God want us to use our talents for His work. The above scripture passages are talking about spiritual gifts, but they apply just as well to talents. Some of which, the innate ones, are a result of your spiritual gift. For example, my spiritual gift is teaching and my ability to and my love for communicating through the written word is most likely an offshoot of that.

So the Lord has given us each gifts and talents to be used “for the profit of all”. All refers to the entire body of believers. We are to use or talents to benefit all believers (past, present and future) for the glory of God. But, how do you do that? It’s easy really. You know what you can do – now you just need to find a way to do it for the Lord.

Back to the three talents of mine that I mentioned above. I think we’ll take them one at a time. What do you think? It’s probably the easiest way to avoid confusion.

I have a love of the written word. How do I use that for the Lord? Well, I’m working on a book but that isn’t finished so it isn’t profiting anyone, except maybe me. Wait, WCTL was looking for volunteers to write blogs. So, I volunteered. The lesson, if there is one, volunteer to do what you love for the glory of God and the profit of his kingdom.

I have a degree in computer programming. How do I use it? In the past I’ve used it by being the volunteer webmaster for Koinonia of Erie County, an interdenominational fourth day community. I’ve also worked with computers in the AV ministries at two different churches, including my current home church, although this doesn’t really require much in the way of programming. When I was a teen I programmed a bible quiz game for my family to play. The lesson seems to be similar to the last one: volunteer to do what you know for God’s kingdom and glory.

Lastly, I worked in radio in college. How have I used that? I have run the sound board during services at two different churches that I’ve attended, including my current one. The lesson, again, volunteer to do what you can for the glory of God and his kingdom.

Your talents and gifts may be different than mine, but you can still find a way to use them for Him. Look around. Talk to your pastor. Keep your eyes and ears open for an opportunity. God will provide you with one, or several. You just have to be ready and waiting.

Waiting is the hard part.

And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Colossians 3:17

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:15

One last thing, you can use your talents to witness to believers and unbelievers alike in your every day life. Just do everything to glorify God, and let the world see Christ in you. What better witness is there?

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Richard L. Foland Jr. is an Author, Lay Speaker and former Youth Leader. He has lived a mostly nomadic life in western Pennsylvania, southeastern Ohio and (briefly) western New York. Currently, he resides somewhere in the chimney of Pennsylvania with his wife and a constantly shifting array of children and stepchildren. He hates divorce, having been through one, and loathes large gatherings. The latter probably explains why he would prefer to sit alone at a keyboard rather than go to a party. You can follow his slow descent into inanity at the Pharos Blogject, on goodreads or Facebook.