Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The parable of Talents Part 2

I had something more to say about the parable of Talents. Sometimes when you read another book of the Bible the meaning of a verse from some other portion of the Bible will become clear to us. In the church we go to we are studying the book of James. When I read that book many aspects of the parable of Talents became clearer to me or rather my understanding of the parable of talents helped me understand a few verses in the book of James. Long time ago when I read the book of James, the verse that I liked best in this book was the verse about the wisdom from God. The Book of James says that "the wisdom from God is pure, peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, without partiality or hypocrisy, full of mercy and good works." James 3:17 But this time around as our church studied this book the verse that struck me was the verse about the definition of true religion. James 1: 27 says that the "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." The first part of this verse is self explanatory. But when I read the second part of this verse about "keeping oneself unstained from the world." I thought, I know how to do that. To do that we have to follow and obey the parable of Talents. The only way, I think we can be in this world and yet not allow ourselves to be defiled or tarnished by it is by working with diligence toward excelling, growing and developing the gifts God has placed within us. It could be singing or baking or decorating our home or designing computer programs. No matter what area our talent is in, if we, with pure inspiration, work, day in and day out, toward excelling in the field of our choice, regardless of how the world views us, regardless of if we are rewarded for our efforts, and regardless of if we are criticized for not participating in the world's activities, when we do that, then it means that we can protect ourselves from the mad clamor of this world. It requires single minded focus, and determination to ignore the world and focus on what God has placed within us. The other verse in James where I saw a connection to the parable of talents was in the verse about the wisdom from God. The wisdom from God, this verse says, is full of good works. So what are these good works? Good works are acts of kindness and compassion to others. Good works are also, the good work we do with a talent God has given us. If God has given us a gift of cooking, it is best to help another person by cooking a meal for them rather than trying to help them in an area you don't have a talent in. But, equally important "good work", I believe, is practicing our talents and growing them. So for example you know how to sew a pillow, then next step could be to learn how to sew something more complex and complicated. If you know how to bake a basic cake, then the next step is to learn how to bake a two layer cake, or an ice cream cake. We can be faithful to God with our talents by learning as much as we possibly can about the gift we have. The book of proverbs says "Do you see a man skillful in his work. He will stand before kings; Proverbs 22:29. I do like it when I see someone's excellent work ethic and purity in pursuing their talents take them places and I hate mediocrity. But the reward of such diligence is not just the reward of standing before kings but it is also the reward of a pure life which can be our legacy to our children and grandchildren upto a thousand generations. And is that not what we all want? To leave a legacy our children and grandchildren can be proud of, by busying oneself in the gifts God has placed within us, which helps us lead a pure life because our mind is filled with ideas and inspirations to grow and develop our talent. The final verse which I understood in the light of the parable of talents was the verse in James 3: 13. This verse says "Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom." This verse is more about the attitude we do need to have when we reach a point of excellence in our talent. Our heavenly father cannot use our talent for His kingdom or glory if we do not exhibit the right attitude. We have to have "meekness and humility" in our excellence and only then is the work complete and pure. So these are my thoughts about the parable of talents. What are your thoughts? Have a blessed day!

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