Within my design when I earth-lighted
Was locked my tool of trade,
Which, once I discovered avowed I sped
Destiny to fulfil
by SAMUEL O. TAIWO
When I was in England many years ago I saw the video of a little girl who played the piano beautifully well.
At the time, she was less than 10 years of age. I remember being so challenged with the immense skills she displayed on the piano that I decided to get my first Roland digital piano which I still own even to this day.
Then I began practising several pieces like I used to when I was only 5. And for those who know a bit about classical music, it takes lots and lots of hours and intense dedication to be good enough.
But I was willing to take up this challenge. I discovered that each time I felt like giving up on my practice, I’ll get inspired to continue just by replaying the video of this little talented kid. And ever since, she’s been like the ‘dope’ that has kept me ‘going’.
Who is this mystery girl?
The truth is, we all get inspired differently. And for some of us, inspiration may be the only way to discover that silver spoon with which we were born.
What then is the silver spoon with which we were born?
To be born with a silver spoon is much more than being born into affluence. It is, to be born with an untaught and unique ability or skill. In modern English, it is, to be born talented.
For most people, such abilities often begin to manifest in crude ways right from their childhood. Others discover theirs only when they start getting public recognition and appraisals for such unique abilities of which they had always thought nothing about. Then there are those who don’t know they have certain talents until a particularly daunting problem puts them in survival mode.
The social value of a man is no greater than that for which he was born. And that for which a man is born is discovered by the talent over which he is a custodian. Unlike in Bible days, talents in modern times are neither visible nor tangible, and as such, cannot be physically buried or physically stolen.
Here are a few things we don’t mean when we say a person is talented:
1. We don’t mean that the person in question is famous. Fame, as we know it, is a function of several factors. In an age such as ours where social media is becoming a fast growing platform for every kind of creature to be known, it don’t take much to be famous.
2. We don’t mean the person is better than others. When you put up a front that you can play the piano better than I do, or, I put up a front that I’m a better poet than you, then we don’t need no prophet to tell us that we both are glorified fools.
In addition to defining as foolish those that are atheists (Psalm 14:1;53:1), covetously rich and don’t regard God in their thoughts (Luke 12:15 to 21), or childish (Proverbs 22:15), the Good Book also describes as foolish those who compare themselves among themselves (2Corinthians 10:12).
It is my candid belief that everyone on the planet has some unique ability in them which, if properly harnessed, developed, and channeled will serve as a compass to their purpose in life. Unfortunately, we live in a strange and particularly ignorant world which revers some talents as being better than others. Persons who do this simply don’t understand the following facts about talents:
1. Every talent belongs to God. At verse 27 of Matthew 25, the master of the three servants made a rather thoughtful statement when he called the buried talent of the slothful man “my money”.
Isn’t it interesting how we sometimes become prideful of that for which we never worked? If God refers to our talent as “my money” then we had better know what he wants us to do with his ‘money’!
2. Every talent is good and perfect. It says in the Good Book, that every good and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights…. If what you regard to be your talent ain’t good or perfect, then it ain’t from the Father of lights. As such, when you claim to be talented at doing anything which ultimately disrupts God’s original intent for any created thing in any way, shape, or form, then you:
a. Did not receive your ‘talent’ from the Father of lights. I know a few persons who claim to be ‘talented’ at stealing, or at being prostitutes, or at deception. While I don’t doubt such unique abilities for evil which they claim to possess, I also know that they certainly did not receive such ‘talent’ from the Father of lights, or
b. They’re simply abusing something unique given to them by the Father of lights. For instance, when such unique ability like attention to detail is abused in order to satisfy personal greed or such other cravings like keeping up with the Joneses, the results can be particularly troubling and exceptionally disturbing.
3. Every talent will be accounted for. If we are simply custodians of that ability originally the property of the Divine, then we must be prepared to give him an account of what we did with it at the end of time. Note that the reason behind employing the instrumentality of your talent in anything is that for which you will be judged.
4. Talents have a life of their own. The life of every talent is, like some inexplicably deep supernatural pull which compels its custodian to do its daily bidding. This is why it can be very obsessive, possessive, and compulsive.
A person talented at playing the piano naturally finds himself or herself practicing some piano piece everyday.
I write daily, not necessarily because I have some deadline to meet, or because I can make some money off it, or because it is convenient, or because I’ve got nothing better to do with my time, or because I love the idea of being famous for writing a book.
The reason is simple: I write daily because I love to write! It’s kinda like trying to explain how salt tastes. That’s how I know I’m talented at writing. And whether or not I become a best-seller is entirely up to how much I develop my talent in writing.
However, a note of caution must be observed when doing the daily bidding of your talent. The truth is, that the life of your talent will always be far stronger than yours. And under the immense pressure of its daily bidding, you may find yourself running off some dreaded cliff of obsession…because your talent told you to!
Here’s what I mean.
Have you ever wondered why most exceptionally talented people don’t seem to have a balanced life? It’s either they don’t get married when they ought to, or they live a very quiet, ascetic life, or they have no sense of fashion, or they cannot keep a marriage, or they’re always depressed, or they become drug addicts, or they die early in life, or they die a lonely death, or they’re simply nerds. They’re almost like savants who are very excellent at one thing but terrible at everything else.
5. Every talent is given for the good of others. If there’s one thing you must never hoard, it is your talent.
Remember what the master said to the slothful servant who refused to make use of “my money”? He called him a wicked servant. Interestingly, wickedness is classified along with adultery and fornication at Mark 7:21 and 22. This can mean only one thing: that by the sacred rating of the Holy Writ, I’m no different from those who break the seventh Commandment if I’m too afraid to make mistakes with that talent over which I’m nothing but a custodian.
It’s only foolish to think you’re talented simply because you’re special. God has neither favorites nor grandchildren. The good interests of a few persons was strong in the mind of the Divine when he made you a custodian of the talent you now have. As such, your talent is nothing but a waste if, for any reason, such persons originally intended to be its beneficiaries were never impacted positively by it.
6. Talents are given according to ability. The God of heaven Who gives to all men from the treasure house of talents does not give people more talents than they can handle. What glory is there in being multi-talented without the ability to make full use of it? It’s like giving a two year old more oatmeal than they can consume.
7. Talents are gifts which God cannot take back to himself. By implication, this means that God can take back an unused talent from a slothful, wicked person and give it to someone else, preferably someone who made the most use of their talent.
8. You don’t have to be a Christian to be talented. You don’t even need to be a Christian to know how to use your talent! All it takes is, an in-depth self discovery of your purpose and your natural abilities, commitment to develop your talent through dedicated, persistent practice, and the art of making the most use of any opportunity by which your talent can be used for the good of others. And in doing this, prepare to make mistakes, some of which will be more expensive than others.
It’s kinda like looking at a masterpiece painting. All you see at first glance is a finished beautiful work of art. But when that very painting is put through an x-ray machine, you’ll be surprised at the immense number of mistakes it took for the artist to come up with such a magnificently beautiful and professional work of art.
9. Even the least usage of talents can save you from outer darkness. What then is the least usage of talents? It is, any employment of your talent when in its crude, undeveloped form. The master demanded this least usage from the slothful servant when he unreservedly thundered the words: “thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers….”
I’ll solemnly ask which is better: To bury your talent? To give it over to the exchangers? Or to maximize its value by trading with it?
10. Opportunity to use your talent, once lost, may never be regained. Our strength today is slowly dying out. And so will the worth of our talents. We’re a step closer to the grave today than we were yesterday.
It’s just about time we pondered on how much opportunities we may have missed in maximizing heaven’s value on us; those times when we failed to practice our piano pieces like we should have; those times when we deliberately withheld ourselves from doing for some brother-man that over which we had the expertise; those times when we refused to teach as we ought to simply because we were too afraid or too shy; those times when we deferred to the next day a divinely impressed urge to write; those times when we turned down invitations to do a comedy, act in a drama, or in a movie, or be involved in something of which we certainly had the talent!
Knowing that the productivity value of my talent keeps diminishing with the worth of my strength, I cannot agree more with the words famously attributed to William Penn:
“I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again”.
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