Sunday, April 3, 2011

What Are You Doing With Your Talents?

In the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:13-30), Jesus tells a story about three servants whose master gave them "talents" (the equivalent of 600 days' wages). The first servant (let's call him Bob) received five talents, another man (whom we'll call Sam) got two, and the last (umm...Joe) received one talent. The master went on a journey and when he returned, Bob had invested the money wisely and now had ten. Likewise, Sam had doubled the money and now had four. Joe, on the other hand, had dug a hole and hidden his one talent, for fear that he could not do anything positive with it. The master was equally pleased with the first two men. The last, he called lazy and wicked.

What does this have to do with writing?

Not all three men were gifted with the same abilities. The master only gave them what he knew they could handle. Yet, he was just as happy with Sam whose investments produced two talents as with Bob, whose had produced five. It wasn't about the amount of talents. It was about taking the risk and working with what you've been given.

I will be the first to say that God gave some people extraodinary writing talent. Mine is either a level one or two, but definitely not a five. Does that mean that I shouldn't go forward and do my best with what I have? I know agents and editors are looking for the "5" talented writer (hmm... 5 stars...), so they are passing on people who provide level one and level two manuscripts.

I could let fear eat me up and decide to bury my gift of writing, like Joe did. After a year of rejection from agents and editors, that's exactly what I wanted to do. And to be honest, I am petrified to think about the negative reviews that my book will receive once it is published. Burying the talent in a hole is the easy way out. But it doesn't please the master and in the end, it won't please me either.

The world will tell you that you're not good enough, that if you have a level one or level two talent, to pack it up and go home. You shouldn't even consider playing in the big leagues with the truly talented people.

I say, if God gave me this one little talent, He wants me to use it to the best of my ability. And so I will. When Between comes out on June 1, there will be negative reviews. There will also be positive reviews. At the end of the day, I'll know I've been a good and faithful servant with the small gift He entrusted me with.

What about you? How do you conquer your fear and keep from burying your talent?


  1. Reminds me of this quotation:

    “The world bursts at the seams with people ready to tell you you're not good enough. On occasion, some may be correct. But do not do their work for them. Seek any job; ask anyone out; pursue any goal. Don't take it personally when they say 'no' — they may not be smart enough to say 'yes.'"
    Keith Olbermann, "The Way I See It"

    - Jim