The Parable of the Talents

In Sunday School this past week we discussed three parables of Jesus Christ, one of which was the parable of the talents (you can find it in Matthew 25:14-30).  I understand that taken literally, the talents talked about in the parable was money.  With every parable, we must look at the symbolism, and this is an easy parable to look at because the word “talent” pretty much means just that… our talents.  In our New Testament study guide it says, “the talents represent gifts from God.  Every person has been given at least one gift from God, but some gifts are easier to recognize than others.”

I think that we often think of talents as having to do with the fine arts because those are the most obvious talents.  Julia is an amazing poet, piano player, and French horn player.  April plays the viola like a madwoman, and is pretty handy with a camera.  Heather has more writing ability in her little finger than most people will get in their lifetime, and she can play the piano, too!  Karen writes, gardens, and has photography… all talents that I know we all wish we could do half as well as she.  Rather than listing ALL of you with ALL your talents, I’m going to move on because while I am continually amazed by each and every one of you, I’m not writing this to praise each of you right now (sorry).

What I have been thinking a lot about lately is what other talents, or gifts, that I have.  I especially feel the need to find out what my gifts are because my “more obvious” talents don’t seem to be doing much for me lately, nevermind the whole “glory to God” bit.  You see, while I play the flute, I am really quite mediocre at it.  I enjoy playing in groups, and I really enjoyed getting to play at church a couple of weeks ago (see!  I did use my talent to glorify God!!), but I’m feeling like the servant in the parable to took his one lousy talent and buried it in the ground.  Nothing came of it because he did nothing with it.  My flute playing is like that.  Nothing is coming of it because I just don’t play anymore.

Then there is the whole flag thing.  I love doing choreography and teaching color guard (although not nearly as much as I loved performing), but I don’t have the skills that people are looking for in a guard coach anymore.  I didn’t have the opportunity to participate in drum corps when I was younger, I don’t have the weaponry knowledge I need, and the only dance skills I have are what I’ve picked up along the way.  So I’m missing a lot.  I am currently in danger of losing my guard gig to someone else right now, and I think this is my last gig.  I just don’t have what it takes.  I didn’t bury this talent in the ground, however.  I have invested this talent by working continually and trying to learn more.  I could have done more, I’m sure, but we just don’t have the means for me to do it.  So, like the servant who was given 2 talents to start with, I have taken that and I hope that I was able to make and additional 2 talents to return to my Master.

However, like I already mentioned, I may not have this job anymore.  I’ll find out next week.  I’m really depressed about this because this is something that I love to do, but I have felt for a while that the end was near.  I need to find a way to help my family, and I have always felt that one should use their individual gifts or talents to support their family.  I don’t know if that’s what everyone thinks, I’ve just always had it in my head that you should do what you are good at, and what you love.  Now I am lost as to what I can do to help out.  I don’t feel like I have anything left.  I don’t have a teaching certificate anymore, so even if I had completely buried my musical talent, I can’t teach.  I would love to be able to go back to school and get a new degree, but that costs money and I’m trying to help us get out of debt, not further in.  I’m just trying to figure out what my gifts are and how I can increase their value.

It’s just something I’ve been tossing around in my mind for a while, and then we had this Sunday School lesson, so it’s really coming all together in my head.

No one has to comment on this.  I just needed to ramble a bit and hope that it helps me  clear things up a little.

9 responses to “The Parable of the Talents

  1. I hope you figure out all that you need to. I also hope you don’t lose this gig, as aside from the money I know you like it. I love you, big sis!

    Thanks, Lur! I love you too. You’re an awesome sister. If I don’t have to go to band camp, will you still come visit?

  2. Sariah, you may say that we don’t have to comment, but I have to say that I want to comment on this one. Often I saw Music as my one and only tallent, and there was always and I mean ALWAYS someone better than I was. For the longest time, I thought that I would only be of worth if I could somehow become better than “they” were. It never happened, but I had to realize that I was worth something even if it was not because of my musical ability.

    When you think about giving back, sharing those tallents, think about what you are doing for your family every single day. Does your husband come home to a smile and a greeting? If so, that is a tallent that I am sure not all women possess. Do your children feel loved? Huge tallent there. Can you tell when your Husband has something on his mind? Helping him deal with it is yet another tallent. Most of all, I have learned that the greatest tallents are the ones we use to serve those we love. Jobs may come and go, but our families are the only things that can be forever. I would bet that even if you do lose that guard possition, Ches would still be proud of you and your kids will still be proud to call you Mom.

    I don’t mean to take over your blog here, I just wanted you to know that you are loved, that you are an amazing tallented woman. Once you look around and see what you do every day, you will know your worth. It took me quite a while to figure that one out.

    You really hit the nail on the head with this one, April. I have often felt, in regards to talents, that I have to be “the best” at it. I kind of figured every one was “the best” at something, and I just haven’t found what I’m best at. I’m good at stuff, or I’m okay at stuff, but I was never the best at it. I just have to realize (and this is something else I have struggled with for a while now) that being really good at something doesn’t always mean being the best. The perfectionist in me won’t settle for anything less, but I have to squash that. It’s not important who the best is. What is important is what I do with it.

    Also, yes, I suppose this has a lot to do with me knowing my own worth. I so foten feel like I fall short and am of little worth to anyone, no matter what others may tell me. Something I need to work on. Thanks for your words of encouragement. You’re welcome to take over my blog anytime!

  3. Big ditto to April, who is more eloquent and thoughtful than I!

    I really like this post for how true and thought-provoking it is. It describes a lot of how I’ve felt over my life and haven’t been able to express.

    Some people really excell in the inter-personal arena, as do you I think. You have three young children for whom you individualize, and you open your home to others. (I have only two and think we might be done!) In addition to opening your home to other people’s children you also open your home and your love to adults. You’re such a warm, inclusive person. That is a huge talent that you foster and develop every day.

    It sounds like you are wrestling with a two different issues here:
    – loss of job (there’s a loss of income, a loss of purpose, and a ding to the ego all associated with this)
    – not feeling special or useful

    I know both of those are painful as a mother, and I just wanted to tell you that I completely understand both of those. I’ve never thought you to be mediocre, rather I’ve been amazed at everything you can do. A little self-reflection every once in a while can go a long way, and I’m sure before long you’ll have a new-found appreciation for yourself.

    Sending hugs!

    Thank you! You really do understand… more than I do, too. You have helped me realize this is more than just one issue for me, and it’s nice to hear others who struggle as I do. It’s comforting to know I’m not alone in my crazy mind!

  4. My sister emailed me this Ensign talk last week and it talks about exactly what you’re feeling (hows that for coincidence?). It starts out with:
    “One of the great tragedies of life, it seems to me, is when a person classifies himself as someone who has no talents or gifts. When, in disgust or discouragement, we allow ourselves to reach depressive levels of despair because of our demeaning self-appraisal, it is a sad day for us and a sad day in the eyes of God. For us to conclude that we have no gifts when we judge ourselves by stature, intelligence, grade-point average, wealth, power, position, or external appearance is not only unfair but unreasonable.”
    The rest of the talk goes on to point out other talents that are not as easily seen. I think its a great talk.

    You can read the whole thing here:

    I hope they keep you on the job. It sounds like the girls really loved having you! And I agree with Heather, you are definitely a warm inclusive person. I had a great time meeting you in person because you are just as awesome in person as you are over the internet! 🙂 Good luck! I hope you get the job!

    And that was also the point brought out in Sunday School. We often think of talents as those having to do with the fine arts because they are so obvious, but there are sooooo many other talents out there. We just have to know how to recognize those talents. Or at least learn how to recognize them so they aren’t buried in the ground, too.

    Thanks, Timber. I remember that Ensign article, and I’ll have to go back and read it again. 🙂

  5. Of course I’ll still come visit! I miss my big sister, and I think it’d be a lot of fun to have all the boys together. Besides, you haven’t met Gareth yet.

    yay! 😀

  6. Richard will still come too–I think Dad’s got the tickets arranged–at least I know he was working on it the other night.

    Sariah, this has been something that has bothered you all your life. I recall when you got your Patriarchal Blessing how you were looking forward to being told what your talents were. But it didn’t [And you were pretty unhappy about that!]* aside: Sariah received her blessing when she’s barely turned 12, and she had pretty high expectations*

    I have always believed that one of your greatest talents is in making and being a friend. I will spare your audience examples from your youth, but think on it.

    I can list lots of talents you have–but April had a great comment, for us all. We do not have to be the best at something in order to have talent in a given area. There are greater and lesser degrees of talent in every area, and I think the point of the parable is not about how many talenst we have, but what we do with them. You are still quite young, and have lots of years left to serve and use all your talents in the building of the Kingdom, so worry not at this time, your turn has and will come again for many opportunities.

    As far as the job…keep us posted.

  7. I know this is about you, but I have to tell you, I didn’t “discover” the talents you mention until I was older. When I was your age, I was like you. I wanted so desperately to excel at my career, which became more and more unfulfilling the more I tried to force it. It’s the things I never tried to force (but simply pursued for enjoyment) that became the talents you mention. You might want to keep that in mind as you navigate your way through the next decade of your life.

  8. You know Sariah, I taught the same lesson on Sunday and I had too think about this one too. I wanted to stress to my students that we all have visible and invisible talents – or talents some people fail to recognize. Such as the talent of humor, or being a good friend. Some people have the talent or gift of service, some people have the gift or talent of forgiveness. I think that it is important to remember that while the talents we have that are easily seen (such as those in the arts) and they do help us draw ourselves and others to God, that the talents that aren’t quite as visible are even more important. I have a friend that can’t sing, can’t play any instrument, can’t write, or paint or does photography, or any of the major things we always talk about, but she can make you smile and feel loved and the most terrible day of your life – and that is a talent that I hope I can cultivate one of these days.

    I know others have mentioned similar to things as I in my comment – I just had to put in my two bits worth. You have a great many talents – they might not just be as noticable as the others. 🙂

  9. Pingback: Where’d That Come From?? « Chocolate Phoenix

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