To every man his work. Mark 13:34, emphasis mine
You’re talented. Before you shake your head, deny those words, and click the little red X on this page, let me offer these words from Ann Voskamp:
The size of your ministry isn’t proof of the success of your ministry.
Do you remember the parable of the three servants who were given different amounts of talents? I’ve been thinking about it recently, this story Jesus tells in Matthew 25. The short version is this: A master gave three different servants different amounts of money. Upon return, they would give the money (called “talents”) back to the master. Two of the servants chose to invest while the third servant dug a hole in the ground and hid the money.
If we forget about “talents” being coins and instead think of that word like a skill or a gifting, then I am, embarrassingly, pretty quick to be the third servant. It’s tempting to look at what He has given me, the way He has made me and the things I’m naturally good at, and duck my head down as I pull the covers over my face.
Somehow, too often, it’s tempting to bury the talents He’s given, the intricate ways we’re wired to most come alive. For me, it used to look like not telling a soul (in real life) that I wrote online.
(Truth: last week my TimeHop app showed my Facebook status from 2 years ago. It was the very first time I shared about my blog on Facebook. At that point, I had been blogging for 5 years. Sure, I had good, solid reasons for keeping quiet but the fact remains that my go-to is hiding.)
Times have changed and keep on changing, and I keep changing with them. I’ve learned to plunge deep and write the vulnerable truths that stir inside (even though my hands shake and my stomach tosses and turns). For me, not burying the talents He has given me looks like not glossing over and daring to go there when He calls me deeper.
When a “yes” means obedience, it looks like saying “yes” no matter how scared silly I am.
When a “no” means obedience, it looks like saying “no” and trusting that He won’t keep me from something that is for my good and His glory.
It’s interesting that when the master returned, both of the servants who invested their talents had double the amount to present. By investing and using the talents, the talents themselves grew. One servant went from five talents to ten. The other went from two to four.
And, amazingly, they each received the exact same response because they each did the best they could with what they were given.
“Well done, good and faithful servant! . . . Come and share your master’s happiness!” Matthew 25:21
The numbers weren’t important.
It wasn’t about Twitter followers or email subscribers or stacking up a pile of speaking invitations or getting a book deal. It wasn’t about having a post written in vulnerable obedience go viral.
It was about taking what they had been given and bravely daring to use their talents. It was about not burying a gift deep down inside for safe-keeping, but instead wading into the deep with open hands.
It wasn’t about status or reputation or how many Facebook friends they had, it was about faith. It was about simple and daring obedience. It was about believing what had been entrusted to their care was of importance and worth, and therefore was worth sharing and using.
You aren’t responsible for your sister’s talents. I’m not responsible for yours and you aren’t responsible for mine. You don’t have to do the work of someone with five talents if you’ve been given two, but you’re called and entrusted to be faithful with your two.
Maybe, just maybe, your talent — your gifting — is your story. Maybe believing that your story matters and then bravely daring to share what God has done and what He is teaching you is one way to offer glory back to Him.
Maybe it’s singing or art, drawing or listening or speaking or cooking. Maybe He’s given you the gift of discernment. Maybe you were given the gift of writing or maybe you have an extra dose of humor. I don’t know what God has given you, but I know He’s given you something and it’s meant to be shared.
You don’t have to be the best. You don’t need to win it all or rank at the top. Just be you. Come alive. Be generous with your story.
You were gifted with talents. Don’t hide. Don’t play the humble card as you bury your God-given gift in the sand.
Play your note. Sing your song. Write your story. Make your art. Don’t look right or left, just do your thing bravely.
It will come at a cost, surely. It will likely twist and pull at your heartstrings and keep you up at night. It might scare you silly. But one day not too long from now, these words will echo and echo and echo:
“Well done, good and faithful servant! . . . Come and share your master’s happiness!”