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Coaches Corner: Gifts and Talents

On my growth journey, I, like many of you, may have tried to discover your gifts and talents. You may have had the same questions I have had over many years.

What gifts and talents do I have to offer to anyone? It wasn’t until I started to embrace comments from others that I was gifted in many areas. I would brush it off and view those comments as this is just who I am…never seeing any of my gifts. I didn’t think I had any; they were buried. I would hear and read comments such as you have such a gift in hospitality; you are engaging with our passengers, and you are so good at what you do. I would view those comments as it’s just who I am, never really thinking that what I was offering was a gift or talent that I was given. The gifts and talents we receive from God include skills, abilities, connections, social positions, teaching, experiences, encouragement, compassion, faith, and more.

Many of you may be familiar with the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30. As the story goes, a wealthy man, head of his household, had three servants. He gathered his servants and told them he would soon take a long journey.

Before leaving, he gave each of his three trusted servants a certain amount of talent. (In those days, talents were worth several years’ wages to the average laborer.) Each talent represented a substantial amount of money. He gave five talents to one servant, to another two, and the third, he gave one, depending on their abilities and skills.

He trusted his servants to look after the talents in his absence. Then he left. While the man was gone, the servant with the five talents immediately went out, traded with the money, and doubled his talents. The second servant did the same and doubled his talent. But the third servant was very cautious; he dug a hole and buried his talent in the ground for safekeeping.

After much time had passed, the man returned and gathered his three servants to inquire what they had done with the talents that they were entrusted with. The first servant explained how he traded and presented the man with the original five talents and an additional five he had earned. The man replied, “You have done well and proven yourself to be my loyal and trustworthy servant.” The second servant presented the original two talents with two additional talents to the man. He, too, doubled what he was entrusted with. The man replied, “Well done.” The third Servant came forward and said to the man, “Fearing I might lose the money, I safely buried the talent in the ground.” He presented the man with the one unused talent he had been entrusted with. The man’s response was unlike the other two. He said to his servant, “take the one talent and give it to the man who now has ten.”

You see, there are several lessons to be learned in this parable. We are all given a talent. It doesn’t matter what gifts or talents you start with; your responsibility is to multiply what you have been given. If you don’t use your talent and bury it, what you have will be taken from you and given to those who prove to be more productive. God does not equip people with identical or equal gifts, but the talents and gifts you have been given are to be used.

The parable’s point is that we are to use whatever we have been given for God’s purposes. As in the third servant, the consequence and mediocrity of being unproductive tell us that we should invest in our lives and not waste them. Find the gifts and talents you have been given and do your best to use and expand them.

“Your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God.” - Leo Buscaglia.

To connect with Ellie: FB @coachelliewest

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