“There’s no prize for talent, just results.”
I’ve recently read this from an article addressed to people in their 20’s. I’m two years shy from 20 so I think I’m qualified in reading that article. 20 Things 20 year olds Don’t Get was the title. And one of the items on that list read “You’re Talented, but Talent is Overrated”. Under that was “Unrefined raw materials (no matter how valuable) are simply wasted potential.” Wow. One of the biggest things most people are ignorant about addressed in one hard-hitting sentence. Upon reading that line, I was reminded of something from the Bible.
The Parable of the Talents.
A brief overview of the parable – a master went away on a journey and left his servants with different amounts of talents (unit of money back then). He left one with 5 talents, another with 2, and one for the last servant. Now when he came back, the first two servants doubled the amount of what was given to them. The master rewarded them. However, the last servant hid his share of talent, dug up a hole and only unearthed it when the master came back. The master became mad and got rid of the last servant.
What does this parable say? It says that no talent should go wasted. Every talent is a potential. It is up to us to develop it.
But in this context, talent was a unit of money. Why’d you think Jesus used that unit of money instead of shekel or bushel or silver? Talent can also mean something of value, something unique to every person. That’s why in the parable, the master gave varying amounts to his servants. Some may argue that the master wasn’t fair in giving the talents. He didn’t give each servant equal amounts. Jesus said that the master gave “each according to his ability”. It wasn’t because the master showed favoritism; he did so because he knew his servants well – their strengths and weaknesses too. And the master wasn’t after the profit, he was after the servants’ obedience. If he were after profit, then he could have just gave more to the servant he gave 5 talents to. His main concern can be translated into one question, “What are you going to do with what I gave you?”
Fast forward to 2000 years later. The population has grown, and so has the number of Jesus’ disciples. Yet why are there still unsatisfied lives and unfulfilled dreams among God’s people? Here’s a probable reason why: there is a number of people who spend their youth “enjoying” their lives and doing nonsense things. They think it’s alright to fool around and “explore”. They have the skills, they have the talent, but what are they doing about it?
I’ve noticed that many in my age group are more inclined with learning skills and mastering talents. When you would ask them why they think they’ll succeed in life, their answer would most likely be “I’ve got the skills. I’ve got talent! I can do this and that while cooking, playing guitar, singing 54 arias, while balancing on a tight rope!” We get it, we get the picture. You can do a lot of unique things. So what? No one would reward you for bragging that you have talent. No one would come up to you and say, “Oh, you write poems and can translate them into 18 other languages? Here’s a million bucks just for having that talent!” God wants us to use our talents for His glory. He wants us to use our talents wisely. He wants us to get that talent and start doing something about it. You’re a good writer and can read braille? Then write story books for blind kids, or teach the blind literacy through that. You have the skills of a great entrepreneur? Then how about help others build businesses, no matter how small those businesses would be, just so others would have a source of income in a legal way.
There’s no prize for talents, just results. How I interpret it? You only get the prize once your talent yields results.