Yes, you! me. everybody. Whether you're a kid or a teenager. A mom or a dad. Or a grandparent. God has given everybody talent to use now.
Your talents might not make you rich and famous, like the athletes and movie stars you know. But everybody can do something in some special way.
There's an old story about a man who gave "talents" to three of his servants. When it was first told, the word talent meant money. But that's still similar to what it means today, like a talent for writing or drawing or singing or driving a taxi.
In this story, the man gives one servant five talents. Another gets two. The third servant gets one. The man expects all of the servants to use their talents. And then he leaves town.
When he returns, he finds out that the first two servants have twice as many talents as they started with, and he's pretty pleased.
"Well done," he says. He calls them "good and faithful." And he says, "You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!"
But he's not too happy with the third servant. This guy was scared that he might not do a good job with his one talent. So all he did was hide it. He didn't even put the money in the bank to earn a little interest. And now he starts making excuses. So the master takes his one talent and gives it to the servant who made the most money (look for this in the Bible, in the book of Matthew [25:14-30]).
Jesus made up this story to show people that God gives every one of us talents - ability from Him - and wants us to use them. We don't have to be afraid our talent isn't there, or is too small to make a difference. We don't have to be scared that we might mess up when we try using it. We don't have to be tricked into thinking it might be better if we just hid.
When I was a kid, I really liked writing down poems that would pop into my head, or little essays on how I felt about things. I didn't really think of my writing as a talent. And I didn't show my stuff to anyone, because I didn't think it was very good. People might laugh at it.
When I got older, I was asked to work on a big project in a job as a writer. I didn't know where to start. I felt I really didn't have the talent to do it. I was really scared. I thought anything I wrote probably wouldn't be very good. I just wanted to ditch this job, move out of town, and forget all about writing!
But I remembered reading this: "Beholding the infinite tasks of truth, we pause, - wait on God.... If 'faithful over a few things,' we shall be made rulers over many; but the one unused talent decays and is lost" (Mary Baker Eddy, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pg. 323).
I sure didn't want to waste God's talent by not using it. So I started praying to God. I thought of Him as being where ability comes from. That I really had His ability to communicate messages (which was what my writing was supposed to do). I wanted to use my writing to serve Him.
Soon I started to get some ideas, and I began to write. After a few days, I had something. What I wrote went to an editor, who made a lot of changes to it. I didn't mind that at all, because I knew the editor was using his talent, too - the talent God gave him to make sure the message of the writing was just right.
By using the talent God gave me, I stopped being afraid. I felt it was a good start at being put "in charge of many things." I still have many opportunities to use this writing talent to serve God. By using it, I'm not losing it!
Whether you like to sing, do math, play soccer, use a computer, or build sandcastles, you really do have talent (or maybe many talents!). Whether they look big or small, remember that they're really God's talents. You don't need to let anything like fear or shyness bury them. Just go right ahead and use them!
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society