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You must use it or you will lose it

In the latest in his Voice of Hope series, Fr Alvan Ibeh reflects on the Parable of the Talents.

This month, I want to reflect on the teaching of Jesus in the gospel of Matthew 25:14-30, otherwise known as the Parable of the Talents. We are told of a master who was leaving his house to travel and, before he left, entrusted his property to his servants.

According to the personal abilities of each man, one servant received five talents, the second received two, and the third received only one. The first two servants used the talents they received and were praised and rewarded by the master for being faithful. But the third, who did not even believe in what he had been given or felt he had received something too small, decided to keep it for the master and never used it as his fellow servants did. What, then, was his reward? He lost it… “so take the talent away from him and give it to the one with the ten talents “. Because he decided not to use it, he lost it.

One thing you must not forget is that no one created by God is useless. I often hear people say they are useless just because they can’t do a particular thing the way the others do. Therefore, you shouldn’t allow anyone to make you feel worthless or make yourself feel the same way. That you can’t do this does not mean you can’t do that. There must be something you can do very well. There is something God has given to each of us.

The problem is when we don’t see what we have and want what others have that we feel we don’t have. We can only be who God has made us be and no one else. The passage says, “He gave each of them according to their abilities”, meaning that God looks at you and knows what you can handle, which He gives to you. But the fact is that you must use it. You must develop the talent that has been given to you; if you don’t, the possibility is that you may lose it, just like the servant.

For instance, if you have been gifted with a singing voice, you must sing, practice continuously, and develop that talent. Only then will your gift make way for you and bring you before kings (Proverbs 18:16). Stay for a year without singing, and you will notice that your voice will gradually start going out of tune. You will be surprised that you will begin to struggle to sing, unlike before. Therefore, you must use it, or you will lose it.

How do I make use of what God has given me? First and foremost, I must believe and affirm that God has blessed me with a talent just as He has blessed others. I must believe that I have something that the other person I am trying to be like does not have. I must acknowledge my talent is fantastic, just as I am unique. I must not forget that whatever I have has been given to me for a purpose.

Therefore, I shouldn’t see myself as superior to others (1 Corinthians 4:7). Whatever God gave to me is meant to be used for His glory and the good of others, not for my self-aggrandizement. I should be proud of what God has given me but not let pride take it away. Most importantly, don’t be shy to use your talent. It has been given to us, and on the last day, God will demand an account of how we have used what has been given to us.

Someone once said that the most fertile place on earth is the cemetery. This is because you will find many unused talents buried beneath the ground. You must not carry your talent to the grave without touching the lives of others with it, which is the primary purpose why God gave them to us. We must, therefore, live full and die empty.

Have a blessed month of October. May God help us to begin using our talents to the greater glory of His name and for the good of humanity. Amen.

I appreciate all those who write to express how they were blessed by reading one of our reflections. To remind you that you can also be a blessing to someone else by sharing any of the articles you feel will bless them too.  

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