In the parable of the talents, the servant to whom were entrusted five talents traded upon them wisely, and in the day of reckoning was able to return double this number to the Master. The one also who received two talents, doubled these. But the man who received only one talent, hid it in a napkin, and buried it in the earth. When the master returned and reckoned with his servants, the sentence pronounced upon this slothful servant was, “Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents” (Matthew 25:28).
To every man and to every woman God has given a work for him. He has not given to all the same work. Some have a greater number of talents than others have. God’s children are to use their talents according to their several ability. Those who have five talents should faithfully put them out to the exchangers. To those who have two talents the Lord says, “Trade upon your talents, using and improving them to My glory.”
The One Talent
Those who have received only one talent (and to each is entrusted at least one), should resolve by God’s grace to use it wisely. Instead of burying it, say: “Though I have but one talent, I must make the most of it. I will be faithful in the little things; for the Word declares, ‘He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much’ (Luke 16:10) I will use to the very best advantage that which is given me. I will not waste one jot of my powers in indulging appetite or in gratifying pride of appearance. In my family I will strive to be a faithful parent, teaching my children to be honest and truthful, kind and patient, and training them for the future, immortal life. By God’s help, I myself will try to be all that I desire my children to be; for in speaking of His disciples, Christ said, ‘For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified’ (John 17:19).”
My brother, my sister, if you have buried in the earth the one talent entrusted to you, I beseech you to improve it before God inquires, “What have you done with the talent that I gave you?” Thank Him that He has manifested His great love to you by entrusting you with even one talent. By word and act show that you appreciate this gift, and that you regard it as a treasure of greater value than anything else you possess. Put your talent out to the exchangers.
The Talent of Speech
The power of speech is a precious possession, given us by the Master to be used in blessing our fellow beings. In using this talent aright, we honor him. But we dishonor him by using the gift of speech to tell of our discouragements and to magnify our trials. We need stronger faith, more perfect trust. How changed would be our experience if the time we spend in repining were spent in beholding Jesus, and in telling others of his love! Then our words would be profitable. Then we should offer to God thanksgiving instead of complaint. Then we should have no inclination to talk about our trials, so filled would our minds be with the thought that we are receiving abundant blessings.
The Talent of Means
Often the talent of means is laid away, hidden and unused. Money lying idle in banks is regarded by the Lord as a buried talent. God desires His followers to use the talent of means in His service. We should do our part in helping to carry forward the different lines of His work in all parts of the earth. A great work is to be done in the cities. Camp-meetings are to be held in many places. Those who have means may multiply their talent by using it to help support laborers in proclaiming the message of truth for this time. When through this instrumentality some one is led to accept the truth, our talent is doubled. And when this convert brings others into the truth, there is still further increase of talents. Those who double their talents in the work of saving souls, bring joy to the angels and call forth songs of praise from the heavenly choir.
The Reward of Faithfulness
To him who uses aright his one talent, as well as to the wise steward of many talents, the Master will say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord” (Matthew 25:21). The well-doer is not rewarded in proportion to the number of his entrusted talents, but in proportion to his faithfulness in using wisely that which he has, and the unselfishness of the motive that prompts his efforts.
Dear reader, God desires to use you in His service. There is a place for you to fill in this world. For no other purpose does He entrust men and women with talents. If you are faithful in filling the place He desires you to fill, He will work in your behalf, and you will see of the salvation of God.
The Atlantic Union Gleaner, September 16, 1903.