Pastor Dominic Cardamone
Now that we have discovered a few principles on what a steward is (here), let’s turn our focus to consider what areas of stewardship God has committed to us. In a previous blog post (here), I already discussed the subject of stewarding our time wisely. In today’s post, we will consider the truth that God has given each of us talents to steward appropriately.
I use the term talents in a general or generic sense. It could be defined as abilities or aptitudes (occupational, relational, financial, physical, mental, etc.). The term talents is used in Matthew 25:14-30 in what is sometimes referred to as the Parable of the Talents. In verse 14, the talents refer specifically to a measure/sum of money. However, the application of the parable is often made broader than just money but includes abilities, opportunities, resources, etc. It would include those things that God gives to us and with which He enables us to serve Him and others. The greater context to the passage is of Jesus teaching His disciples that the end times are coming and that they should be occupying (this term is used in the parallel passage of Luke 19:12-27 which means “to carry on a business”). The idea is that the Christian ought “to carry on business” with the goods God gives to us. These goods include our talents and abilities. I like to refer to them as enablements.
Paul recognized the enablement of God in his life:
1 Timothy 1:12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled (means to endue with strength) me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry.
Some enablements are common to us all. They can be possessed by both believers and unbelievers. Some are naturally given. These natural abilities are imparted/inherited at birth and can be nurtured/developed. When God designed us in the womb, He “built in” or “programmed” us with these abilities (see Psalms 139:13-16). While we may be inclined to attribute our natural ability to our genetics or environment, they ultimately find their root in God’s enablement. Sometimes the development of natural abilities is contextual to families, environment, and/or exposure (See Exodus 35:30-35; 36:1). I believe that is God-orchestrated too (e.g. sports families, musical families, etc.).
Other enablements are unique to a few. And yet others are supernatural or spiritual (See 1 Corinthians 12). Spiritual abilities are given at spiritual birth when a person is born again in Jesus Christ (See Romans 12:3-8). These spiritual abilities can only be possessed by believers and are for particular purposes. If I am going to properly steward them, I must understand why God gave them to me. God expects them to blossom as we mature in our faith, and they are used to glorify God as we serve others and build the family of God. This is the encouragement of Peter in 1 Peter 4:7-11:
1 Peter 4:7-11, But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Use hospitality one to another without grudging. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Here are a few practical points of application pertaining to talents:
Discover your abilities – be aware of them and which ones you possess. God has imparted them to you. Some get the mindset that “I’m not talented” or “I can’t serve and explore.” Don’t be afraid to try new things and step outside of your comfort zone.
Develop your abilities – mature! Follow the Holy Spirit’s leading and the instruction of Scripture. Sharpen your abilities. Be open to counsel and correction. Consider the steps of those who have come before you and learn from them.
Deploy your abilities – don’t bury your abilities, deploy them! Look for occasions and opportunities to use them. Start small and progress from there.
Dote with your abilities – love some on someone with them. Your abilities are for a purpose (not to serve self, but to love and serve the Savior and others.