The Signs of the Times


January 23, 1893

Our Obligation to Improve Our Talents


From this far distant field of Australia I would address you in America, asking to what use you are putting your intrusted talents? Every talent is to be returned to the Master with interest; for the Lord has a work for one and all to do, which, if performed, will result in the accumulation of talent and blessing. All are called upon to work while it is day; for the night cometh, in which no man can work. There are towns and villages and cities that are white already to harvest; but where are the reapers? Seed sowers are needed, and the reapers should be ready to follow after. Time is short, and there is need of earnest laborers to go all through Michigan, for in this State especially the fields are white for the harvest. ST January 23, 1893, par. 1

Let not the work that needs to be done wait for the ordination of ministers. If there are not ministers to take up the work, let men of intelligence, with no thought of how they can accumulate the most property, establish themselves in these cities and towns, and lift up the standard of the cross, using the knowledge they have gained in winning souls to the truth. The knowledge of the truth is altogether too precious to be hoarded up, and bound about, and hid in the earth. Even the one talent intrusted by the Master is to be faithfully employed to gain other talents also. Where are the men and women who have been refreshed with rich streams of blessing from the throne of God? Let them ask themselves what they have done to communicate this light to those who have not had like advantages? How will those who have neglected to use their talents stand in the judgment, when every motive will be brought under scrutiny? The heavenly Master has committed to every one of his servants talents. “And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability.” ST January 23, 1893, par. 2

God has not given talents to merely a chosen few, but to everyone he has committed some peculiar gift to be used in his service. Many to whom the Lord has given precious talents have refused to employ them for the advancement of the kingdom of God; nevertheless, they are under obligation to God for their use of his gifts. Everyone, whether serving God or pleasing himself, is a possessor of some trust, whose proper use will bring glory to God and whose perverted use will rob the Giver. That the possessor of talents does not acknowledge God's claims upon him, does not make his guilt the less. If he chooses to stand under the black banner of the prince of darkness through this life, he will stand unconfessed by Christ in the day of final accounts. ST January 23, 1893, par. 3

“God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” The ransom money has been paid for every son and daughter of Adam, and that those who have been ransomed by the precious blood of Christ, refuse allegiance to him, will not shield them from the retribution that will come upon them in the last day. They will have to answer for their neglect to use their intrusted talents for the Master. They will have to answer for their reproaches against their Maker and Redeemer, and for their robbery of God in withholding their talents from his service, and burying their Lord's goods in the earth. ST January 23, 1893, par. 4

The human family is composed of responsible moral agents, and from the highest and most gifted to the lowest and most obscure, all are invested with the goods of heaven. Time is an intrusted gift of God, and is to be diligently employed in the service of Christ. Influence is a gift of God, and is to be exerted for the forwarding of the highest, noblest purposes. Christ died on Calvary's cross that all our influence might be used to lift him up before a perishing world. Those who behold the Majesty of heaven dying on the cross for their transgressions, will value their influence only as it draws men to Christ, and they will use it for this purpose only. Intellect is an intrusted talent. Sympathy and affection are talents to be sacredly guarded and improved, that we may render service to Him whose purchased possession we are. ST January 23, 1893, par. 5

All that we are or can be belongs to God. Education, discipline, and skill in every line should be used for him. The capital is his, and the improvement is the usury that rightfully belongs to the Master. Whether the amount intrusted is large or small, the Lord requires that his householders do their best. It is not the amount intrusted or the improvement made that brings to men the approbation of heaven, but it is the faithfulness, the loyalty to God, the loving service rendered, that brings the divine benediction, “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.” This reward of joy does not wait until our entrance into the city of God, but the faithful servant has a foretaste of it even in this life. ST January 23, 1893, par. 6

Instead of burying our talents in the earth, those who are willing to trade upon them, will not trade in vain. God pronounces his blessing upon unselfish, unwearied diligence; and though we may have but one talent, and can make but a small investment, yet God will make the effort fruitful in results. The man who works in faith will realize that his intellect, his affections, his whole power, belongs to God, and he will seek to make diligent use of his powers, and will improve his faculties and talents. But, instead of realizing that all our faculties belong to God, how many are reckless, little thinking that their influence, their cheap, light words, are moulding the characters of those with whom they associate, and bringing down their minds to a low level. If they did but understand what they are doing, and could realize that they are accountable for their influence, and that in the sight of heaven they are wasting their opportunities, would they so belittle their talents of speech and mind, and so mould the minds of their companions to what is low and ignoble, by their trifling, cheap conversation? It is by the influence of reckless triflers that the confederacy of evil is strengthened and the intrusted talents of God are corrupted and buried in the earth. ST January 23, 1893, par. 7

But the very talents that men pervert to the service of evil have been bestowed by the Lord for their elevation and the elevation of those with whom they associate. Through the exercise of the faculties of the mind, through the power of speech, they are to be constantly improving, and feeding other minds with rich, intellectual food, thus becoming a blessing to the world. Shall we not individually make the best possible use of the natural powers of mind and body? Shall we not carefully treasure every intrusted talent, and by exercise strengthen every faculty, and live in such a way that the young and inexperienced and the aged and experienced shall be benefited by association with us? ST January 23, 1893, par. 8

The atmosphere that surrounds the soul is fraught with influence for good or evil according to the character of the thoughts. It may be full of poison and malaria, or be fragrant and pure and health giving. This moral influence will be according to our connection with Christ or our separation from him, who is light and life. Those who are united with Christ will realize that he has given them trusts according to their several ability; and, whatever their surroundings, they will consider them favorable for the development of moral character. We are to make the most of every advantage and opportunity. We may continually remember that we must train and improve our ability that we may not disappoint our Master, but reach the highest possible standard, and thus influence others to follow in the footsteps of our Example. We may say, “Neither society nor intimate companions must have their ideas of Christian character cheapened by my course of action.” Those who take and keep this position will find that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Such will receive the commendation, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” ST January 23, 1893, par. 9

In the work of disseminating the gospel, Christ sent his disciples out by two and two. In our efforts we should follow the plan of our Master. There are many that think it would be more advantageous to scatter our forces as much as possible so as to take in as much territory as possible; but Christ's way is best, and it will always result in loss to follow other methods than his. If two workers could come to this distant field, qualified by the Holy Spirit, and would deny self and take up the cross and follow Jesus, making it manifest that they were true disciples, an important work could be accomplished in the cities and their suburbs. We desire that men and women should come to these fields who have a knowledge of the truth, who are not as children tossed to and fro, who want not a pleasant time, but who are willing to carry burdens. ST January 23, 1893, par. 10

Oh! that the Lord would baptize men and women who were once in darkness and have seen great light, with his Holy Spirit, that they may realize their duty to let the light shine forth to others who are in darkness. ST January 23, 1893, par. 11

The advantages of you who have heard the truth in America have been great; but what use are you making of your privileges? What are you doing with your talents? Are you putting them out to the exchangers? Have you treasured up the truth in good and honest hearts, accepting the light ray after ray as it has come to you, and do you feel under obligation to diffuse the light you have received? Do you comprehend what the Lord would impress upon you by the parable of the talents? The Lord committed to every man talents according to his ability, and all were to trade upon these intrusted goods. By doing as their Lord commanded, they doubled their talents. But there was one who had but one talent intrusted to him, and he went and wrapped it in a napkin, and hid it in the earth; and when the Master returned and reckoned with his servants, he returned the talent to his Lord, bearing false witness against his Master, accusing him of being a hard man, who reaped where he had not sown, and gathered where he had not strewn, and he made this misapprehension of his Lord's character an excuse for his slothfulness. But the Lord penetrated his disguises and answered him according to his estimate: ST January 23, 1893, par. 12

“Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strewed; 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 unto him that hath ten talents. For unto everyone that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance; but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” ST January 23, 1893, par. 13

But upon those who faithfully employed their talents, and who by wise use of their gifts doubled their ability, the Lord pronounced his divine benediction. To them he said, “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.” ST January 23, 1893, par. 14