The Review and Herald


May 1, 1888

The Use of Talents


The parable of the talents should be a matter of the most careful and prayerful study; for it has a personal and individual application to every man, woman, and child possessed of the powers of reason. Your obligation and responsibility are in proportion to the talents God has bestowed upon you. There is not a follower of Christ but has some peculiar gift for the use of which he is accountable to God. Many have excused themselves from rendering their gift to the service of Christ, because others were possessed of superior endowments and advantages. The opinion has prevailed that only those who are especially talented are required to sanctify their abilities to the service of God. It has come to be understood that talents are given only to a certain favored class, to the exclusion of others who, of course, are not called upon to share in the toils or rewards. But it is not so represented in the parable. When the master of the house called his servants, he gave to every man his work. The whole family of God are included in the responsibility of using their Lord's goods. Every individual, from the lowliest and most obscure to the greatest and most exalted, is a moral agent endowed with abilities for which he is accountable to God. To a greater or less degree, all are placed in charge of the talents of their Lord. The spiritual, mental, and physical ability, the influence, station, possessions, affections, sympathies, all are precious talents to be used in the cause of the Master for the salvation of souls for whom Christ died. RH May 1, 1888, par. 1

How few appreciate these blessings! How few seek to improve their talent, and increase their usefulness in the world! The Master has given to every man his work. He has given to every man according to his ability, and his trust is in proportion to his capacity. God requires every one to be a worker in his vineyard. You are to take up the work that has been placed in your charge, and to do it faithfully. “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” Let the business man do his business in a way that will glorify his Master because of his fidelity. Let him carry his religion into everything that is done and reveal to men the Spirit of Christ. Let the mechanic be a diligent and faithful representative of Him who toiled in the lowly walks of life in the cities of Judea. Let every one who names the name of Christ so work, that man by seeing his good works may be led to glorify his Creator and Redeemer. “Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord.” Let the upbuilding of the kingdom of Christ be your constant thought, and let every effort be directed toward this one end. RH May 1, 1888, par. 2

Those who have been blessed with superior talents should not depreciate the value of the services of those who are less gifted than themselves. The smallest trust is a trust from God. The one talent, through diligent use with the blessing of God, will be doubled, and the two used in the service of Christ will be increased to four; and thus the humblest instrument may grow in power and usefulness. The earnest purpose, the self-denying efforts, are all seen, appreciated, and accepted by the God of heaven. “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones.” God alone can estimate the worth of their service, and see the far-reaching influence of him who works for the glory of his Maker. RH May 1, 1888, par. 3

We are to make the very best use of our opportunities, and to study to show ourselves approved unto God. God will accept our best efforts; but let no one imagine he will be pleased with ignorance and inability when, with proper improvement of privileges bestowed, a better service might be supplied. We are not to despise the day of small things; but by a diligent care and perseverance, we are to make the small opportunities and talents minister to our advancement in divine life, and hasten us on to a more intelligent and better service. But when we have done all that we can do, we are to count ourselves unprofitable servants. There is no room for pride in our efforts; for we are dependent every moment upon the grace of God, and we have nothing that we did not receive. Says Jesus, “Without me ye can do nothing.” RH May 1, 1888, par. 4

We are responsible only for the talents which God has bestowed upon us. The Lord does not reprove the servant who has doubled his talent, who has done according to his ability. He who thus proves his fidelity can be commended and rewarded; but he who loiters in the vineyard, he who does nothing, or does negligently the work of the Lord, makes manifest his real interest in the work to which he has been called, by his works. He shows that his heart is not in the service for which he has been engaged. He has digged in the earth, and has hidden his Lord's money. The talent given to him for the glory of God and the salvation of souls, has been unappreciated and abused. The good it might have done is left unaccomplished, and the Lord cannot receive his own with usury. RH May 1, 1888, par. 5

Let none mourn that they have not larger talents to use for the Master. While you are dissatisfied and complaining, you are losing precious time and wasting valuable opportunities. Thank God for the ability you have, and pray that you may be enabled to meet the responsibilities that have been placed upon you. If you desire greater usefulness, go to work and acquire what you mourn for. Go to work with steady patience, and do your very best, irrespective of what others are doing. “Every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” Let not your thought or your words be, “O that I had a larger work! O that I were in this or that position!” Do your duty where you are. Make the best investments possible with your intrusted gift in the very place where your work will count the most before God. Put away all murmuring and strife. Labor not for the supremacy. Be not envious of the talents of others; for that will not increase your ability to do a good or a great work. Use your gift in meekness, in humility, in trusting faith, and wait till the day of reckoning, and you will have no cause for grief or shame. RH May 1, 1888, par. 6

It is easy for us to entertain ideas that we know more than we really do, and when tried we stumble over little matters as though they were great difficulties. Do not aspire to do some great service, when the duty of today has not been done with fidelity. Take up the commonplace care, trade on the humble talent with a solemn sense of your responsibility for the right use of every power, every thought that God has given you. God asks no less of the lowliest, than of the most exalted; each must do his appointed work with cheerful alacrity, according to the measure of the gift of Christ. The first thing to gain is a humble sense of your own weakness. Begin to see that you do not possess one tithe of the knowledge that you should possess. Begin to see how you have wasted your privileges, and how much you owe to the mercy of God. Draw near to the divine Model, until you can appreciate your deficiency, and you will be thankful for any place in the service of the Lord. Do not be discouraged when you realize how far short you come. “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.” The promise of God is, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” RH May 1, 1888, par. 7

The church of God is made up of persons of different abilities. Like vessels of various dimensions, we are placed in the house of the Lord; but it is not expected that the smaller vessels will contain all that the larger ones will hold. All that is required, is that the vessel shall be full and hold according to its ability. If you perform faithfully the duties in your path, you will be an acceptable servant, an honored vessel. You should feel that Christ has set a high value upon your soul. He has, at an infinite cost, provided a way by which you may escape the corruption that is in the world through lust, and become a partaker of the divine nature. RH May 1, 1888, par. 8

There is a great and important work that each one can do, through the grace of Christ; that is, to “cease to do evil,” and to “learn to do well.” Do not fail to appreciate the daily blessings that God bestows upon you. Resolve that you will not utter one word of complaint against God, or against your brethren. To speak against your brethren, is to speak against Christ. Christ identifies his interests with the interests of suffering humanity. “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Let us make a covenant with God that we will not speak one word of envy or unkindness. Let not your lips dishonor God by fretful words of complaint and dissatisfaction. Educate your lips to praise Him from whom all blessings flow. RH May 1, 1888, par. 9

Jesus declared of his people, “Ye are the light of the world.” And he said again, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Those who will not become connected with Jesus Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, will not become channels of light, but they will be held responsible for what they might have been through his grace. God has endowed us with talents for his service and glory, and we should seek to put our gifts out to the exchangers, that interest may be returned to our Heavenly Father. RH May 1, 1888, par. 10

In order that we may become instruments fit for a valuable service, we must be prepared for our labor. We are as rough stones from the quarry, and we must be chiseled and hewn, until God sees that the unsightly edges are all taken off, and we are fitted and polished for a place in the heavenly temple. Do not entertain the idea that because you have accepted the truth, you have attained perfection. The work of character-building is a life-long work. The Bible must be studied in order that you may properly estimate your progress, and understand your obligations. It is necessary for you to look constantly into the great moral mirror, to measure your attainments by the great standard of holiness. The principles of God's law must become the principles of your life and the motive power of all your actions. The impulses of your heart must be regulated by the gospel of the Son of God, and your character must be fashioned after the divine Pattern. The truth you profess must be established in reverent and holy purposes to honor God and benefit mankind. This is the only successful method of controlling the life. There should be steady, persevering, persistent advancement in the Christian pathway. A fitful experience is of little value. The impulsive effort to overcome is often as impulsively discontinued as begun. There should be a determined resistance of evil in the strength of Christ. Forgetting what is behind, we should press toward the mark with all diligence. The truth must be stamped upon the soul, woven into the character, until the life is sanctified through the power of God. While God works in you, to will and to do of his own good pleasure, you are to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. You have something more to do than simply to believe. “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” Use your talents for God in humble faith and love, and he who has been faithful over the “few things” of earth, will be made ruler over “many things” in the eternal world of glory. RH May 1, 1888, par. 11