What parent has not looked into the eyes of a newborn infant and wondered in amazement about the child’s future? What parent has not asked questions such as What kind of life will my child have? For what purposes has this child come to earth now? What must I do as a parent to help this infant fulfill those purposes?
Every one of us has been blessed with many marvelous capabilities, and one of the great objectives of our journey through mortality is to improve upon them. The Savior taught this lesson in His parable of the talents.
Parable of the talents
“For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.” (Matthew 25: 14-28 in the Bible)
The Savior then gave the interpretation of the parable: Those who use, improve and share their talents receive more talents in abundance. But those who do not use, improve and share their talents shall lose even the talents they had initially (Matthew 25: 28-29 in the Bible)
“But with some I am not well pleased, for … they hide the talent which I have given unto them, because of the fear of man. … Thou shalt not idle away thy time, neither shalt thou bury thy talent that it may not be known” (Doctrine & Covenants 60: 2, 13)
What are our talents and how should we develop and use them
Seek earnestly to discover the talents the Lord has given you. The talents God has given us first become apparent in the interests we pursue. If you are wondering about your talents, make a list of the things you like to do. Include all the activities you enjoy from different dimensions of your life–spiritual, musical, dramatic, academic, athletic, and so on. Consult family members, trusted friends, teachers, and leaders; others often can see in us what we find difficult to see in ourselves.
Use your talents to build up the kingdom of God. Our first priority is our family. Parents should encourage and support their children in developing their talents. We also have many opportunities to help others identify their talents. The successes in life of those we assist, sponsor, mentor, and lift as they pursue their own talents can bring us great joy and satisfaction.
Acknowledge God’s hand in your success. We must never forget or stop acknowledging that all talents and abilities come from God. Some were given to us before our birth, while others have been acquired as we have developed. But in both cases, they are gifts from a benevolent Heavenly Father, whose gracious blessings are also the means for improving our talents and obtaining others. The Lord has said, “And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things”
(Doctrine & Covenants 59: 21) We all want to hear when we stand before our Savior in judgment, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matthew 25: 21 in the Bible)
Dallas Jones is the local leader for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Some of the article came from Ronald A. Rasband Article in the Ensign, August, 2003. Any questions on this parable call (231) 383-8359 or send an email firstname.lastname@example.org