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Faith Imagined: One Talent and Proud!

Faith Imagined

Alisa Hope Wagner: Christian Writer

November 20, 2010

One Talent and Proud!

In the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25.14-27), a Master gives three of His servants money to invest while He's away. He gives one servant 1 talent, another 2 talents and the other 5 talents. A talent is a measurement (weight) of gold or silver. If the Master was giving gold, the value of one talent would be a staggering $840,000! Needless to say, the Master trusted even His 1 talent servant with a great responsibility.

Whenever I read this parable, though, I often times become a little anxious. I wonder if am a 1, 2 or 5 talent kind of girl. Are my "abilities" worthy enough to handle the 5 spot or am I only strong enough for the 1? I know the emphasis of the parable is placed on the effort. No matter what God gives us, we should do our best to serve Him and His kingdom. However, I have trouble with some scholars' opinions that God blesses some people with more talents than others--like somehow there are "Christian Elite," and they have special purposes that surpass the rest of us. The Bible was written for all of us, and the promises that fill it are for each child of God to claim--not just a few.

When I was contemplating all of this, I felt the Holy Spirit tell me that I was looking at the parable one-dimensionally and that there was a fullness that I was missing. Then I realized that I was all three servants. God has blessed me with 1, 2 and 5 talents according to my abilities. To be honest, I have very few 5 talents, a handful of two talents and a slew of 1 talents. I can comfortably confess that there are many areas that God has given me only 1 talent of ability. I do the best that I can with my 1 talent, but my efforts won't be able to produce what others can produce with their 5 talents.

For example, I find it difficult to speak one-on-one with people. I have friends that take this ability for granted. They don't see what is so special about being able to casually talk about church and life with people they just met. I, on the other hand, am in awe of their communicative suaveness, and I appreciate the amazing gift that they have been given. They have 5 talents in an area that I only have 1. Sometimes, I wish I could just bury my 1 talent in the ground, but God expects me to put forth the effort, even if it's uncomfortable and exhausting for me. Thankfully, though, God usually allows me to rest in this area, and I enjoy taking a backseat to the social-butterfly.

When I do run into people face-to-face, I use my 1 talent to the best of my abilities, and I know that God is pleased. I won't ignore people just because I'm uncomfortable. I know that even my 1 talent is worth almost a million dollars, and I won't squander it just because I'm an introvert. Thankfully, God gave me more talents in another form of communication. I love to write. I'm comfortable writing, and I can produce much more at the keyboard than I can at a dinner party. Because I enjoy writing, I don't mind spending time and energy doing it. Sitting at the computer for several hours every night doesn't sound too bad to me (though, that took years of discipline to achieve).

In reality, I wouldn't want to have 5 talents in everything I do. Could you just imagine how draining our lives would be if we were the "bread-winners" in every area of life? When would we ever rest? I love the fact that I don't have to be the one in charge, the one making things happen, the one that every one looks to or the one that produces the most all of the time. I value that God chose to give me a break when He designed me with many 1 talent abilities. I might have a lot to say at the keyboard; but if you find me at a dinner party, I'll be the one in her seat, enjoying the ability to just sit and do nothing. Sure, I'll talk if God urges me to, but normally He allows me to be a fly on the wall.

So where are your talents? Are you content in your 1 talent abilities? Do you know which abilities God has blessed you with 5 talents? Have you ever been in a season where God asked you to work in a 1 talent ability? Do you applaud those who have more talents in certain areas than you? Have you ever judged others according to their 1 talent ability, only to be surprised later on by their 5 talent ability? Have you ever been judged according to one of your 1 talent abilities?

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Anonymous Janice F Baca said...

I love your article! It's a great reminder to take the talents the Lord gives us and do our best.

Remember, Moses was instructed to speak to Pharaoh but felt his speech was too slow and stammerous - but called Moses to do so anyway.

We give knowing that we may not have as much as the next person... but give our best. God blesses our faithfulness.


10:10 PM  
Blogger Sharon Kirby said...


First of all, this is a weird little sidelight (except nothing is weird when the Spirit is speaking...) Just today I composed a future post about talents, prompted by these very Scriptures that you're talking about!

I so appreciated your words. What an interesting way to look at it. We ALL have 1, 2, and 5 talent abilities. The important things is this - WHAT ARE WE DOING WITH THEM?

I'm not sure if it's a "5-er" or not, but I do love writing and speaking. And I am asking God to use and multiply my efforts.

As far as a season when God has asked me to work in a 1 talent ability - I'd have to say that my ministry to the elderly in an assisted living facility might just qualify. It's rewarding, but it doesn't have some of the glamour of a 5 talent ministry...or maybe it does, and I just don't see it from God's standpoint!

I suppose, in some ways, God is the final judge of all that. And I don't think He rates us. He just loves us, and strengthens us to bear fruit. We just need to give it a "5" as far as our efforts go!

Thanks for sharing this - I appreciated your thoughtful insights.


10:15 PM  
Anonymous Cyruswoman said...

refreshing take on the parable!!!realise now that i have quite a number of 5-ers actually and at the value of $840,000!!!!lol

10:26 PM  
Blogger The Unknowngnome said...


From one introvert to another, I applaud your writing talents. Your discipline shows week after week and I appreciate the fruits of your labor.

Lord, let us not be lazy.

11:24 PM  
Blogger Leah @ Point Ministries said...

What a though-provoking post!!! I utilized this parable in my new Bible study, but I put it in a modern day format. It is a rich parable.

I, like you, do not do as well in one-on-one conversation and really did not realize it until this year when I entered into a mentoring relationship with a young woman through the Woman-to-Woman Mentoring program at our church. I really struggled to get through it.

I will certainly be pondering on this post for a while.

4:44 AM  
Blogger Reign and Shine said...

I am so grateful for your writing talents. How encouraging are the words God has put in your heart. Thank you for reminding me I am everyone, by gift or by season, I am everyone.
I appreciate we do not know what could have happened if the single talent had been used. God grants the increase. Wouldn't God receive greater glory if we magnified Him with our little-ness. Knowing it was Him. The world knowing it was Him. Even our deceitful hearts could not steal His glory.
Yes, 1 talent and joyfully dependent upon the Bread of Life.
Thank you for pointing us to Him.
Sherrie Yunker

4:50 AM  
Blogger Joanne Sher said...

Alisa - this is FABULOUS. Such great truth in here. We are ALL given different degrees of talent, and are to use them to the best of our ability. Gonna remember this for a while.

7:04 AM  
Blogger Connie Mace said...

"God has blessed me with 1, 2 and 5 talents according to my abilities." I love the multi-dimensional insight GOD gave you! What a loving Father we have. Thank you Alisa, for being faithful to share what He's given.

5:18 PM  
Blogger Wanda said...

Alisa, I've never thought about that parable in this way. Like you I viewed it as person had either one or the other number of talents. But I like how the Holy Spirit expanding your knowledge on it and allowed you to bless us with ith. I never would have guess you to be the fly on the wall type but I can certainly relate. I have several 1 talent abilities and some where I have a 5 but I often fail to recognize it I believe. I too am in awe of those who never met a stranger. Blessings.

9:10 PM  
Blogger Susan Panzica - EternityCafe said...

Thanks for this excellent post. Great insight. This parable is near and dear to me as the Lord used it mightily in my life when I was tempted to bury my talent. Thanks for the new perspective.

10:40 PM  
Blogger Krista said...


What a neat way to look at it. I just love the way you have explained this.


9:02 AM  
Blogger 4 Blessings said...

I just love how you shared this. It truly makes me think. There are so many times I step back because I don't want to be an uncomfortable situation. Thank you for the beautiful post and reminder of living for HIM.

10:01 AM  
Anonymous Renee Ann said...

I work in a Christian school. As in many ministries, when something needs to be done and there's no one on staff who is an "expert" in that area, God often prompts a volunteer to step in and fill the need. Now that person may not be the best at whatever it is, but they're willing to serve! It's always discouraging when the person is judged for whatever lack of ability another sees, instead of being applauded for letting God use him or her.

I agree with you that the 5 talent guy had more responsibility than the others. And I'm happy to invest whatever little I have the best I can!

2:53 PM  
Blogger Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Alisa -

I like the way you look at this scripture. Very unique!

Sometimes God has us using a particular talent for a season. Yet, I believe these are offshoots of a main focus rather than something connected with destiny.

God will often use these experiences to enrich a facet of our main talent. The important thing is to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Susan :)

7:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alisa, I'm sorry to let you know this but god doesn't exist. It's just plain superstition. I hope you won't take this too hard but it's the plain true.

7:57 PM  
Blogger Reign and Shine said...

Dear Anonymous,
I can not agree with you. There is a God and He loves you. Set up whatever test you need to and God will meet you there. Those of us who have met God will pray for you. We will pray that you have an open mind to receive Jesus when He shows up, and that you will have the courage to follow Him. Please, look for God, He will find you.
Gratefully in His hands-
Sherrie Yunker

5:43 AM  
Blogger From The Heart Online said...

I love the phrase, "Sometimes, I wish I could just bury my 1 talent in the ground, but God expects me to put forth the effort, even if it's uncomfortable and exhausting for me." I hear you. I am surprised a little ... I just assumed public speaking and the ability to chat with anyone went hand in hand ;) Guess not.

I don't know if God gives us abilities only once, or if he just reveals to us different talents over time ... but I notice that certain abilities seem to be 'appearing'. Playing guitar, public speaking, chatting one-on-one with strangers about big, deep stuff... maybe it was always there, but buried under layers of hate, bitterness, insecurity, doubt ... maybe God is giving me new abilities. Either way, it comes from Him and I pray I use them the best I can for his glory!

8:12 AM  
Blogger From The Heart Online said...

Dear Anonymous:

You are wonderfully made, and deeply loved beyond measure! I thank God you've come here. You've entered a community of supernatural love and prayer. This may be the best thing that's ever happened to you!

I join Reign and Shine (and others) in prayer - that you will find true and lasting peace and joy in the arms of your adoring Maker. He delights in you, sings over you. We do too.


8:17 AM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

Well, dear friend, you certainly have unlimited talents in communicating your heart, God's Word, through your blog. I am continually blessed by it and so thankful I have the privilege of meeting you here. Much love!

11:42 AM  
Blogger Stuff could always be worse said...

Have read this twice now, just did not leave a comment? I do wonder which talent I would be, also. Thought provoking post!
Happy Thanksgiving

7:38 PM  
Blogger Michele Katherine said...

Hi Alisa,
I want to wish you a wonderful, blessed and fun Thanksgiving day.

God bless,
Michele Katherine

9:03 PM  
Blogger Nicky said...

Hi Alisa, I so enjoyed reading your very interesting and modern explanation of this parable followed by such a pertinent analysis of your own talents. I have realised that I too, could stay at the computer all evening but somehow I have to get out, meet my friend and sister in Christ, Mandy and hit the village doors. Praise the Lord for He is guiding us. God bless x

6:19 PM  
Blogger Bernadine said...

Hi Alisa, I love how you explain this parable. Now I'm going to have to start looking at my life and the areas where God has gifted me differently.

Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving.

7:38 PM  
Blogger A Hopeful Heart said...

Thank you for visiting my blog the other day....your visit enabled me to find you. It is very nice to meet you.

Actually, we have a bit in common, as I consider myself a writer too. I actually wrote a 783 page novel back in the late 90's. Never got it published, and then mostly put writing on hold to raise my kids and homeschool them (though I did write some articles for some homeschooling magazines). Now that my second child has finished high school, I'm in a new season of life and am getting my writing fire back again. I'm actually considering going back to school in pursuit of an English or Journalism degree...and I'm also fleshing out a novel, which will showcase God's grace and redemption, as evidenced towards those who have known the shame of a promiscuous lifestyle.

Your devotional thought is beautiful. It really is freeing to realize that some will excel in one area, others in another area. We are not all gifted the same way, and it is so freeing to realize that we don't need to compare ourselves with others.

Blessings to you,
Patti (Fill My Cup with Beauty)

9:35 PM  
Blogger Michele Katherine said...

Hi Alisa,

It's Michele again. I now had the chance to read, and think about your post. It is not only thought provoking as others have stated, but it also gives a lot of insight to who you are, and I think you sound like a great person to know.

From your post I learned that I need to be thankful for whatever gifts I have, even if I don't perceive them as gifts, and not envy what I perceive as others gifts. In the woman's bible study I'm attending, they spoke about gifts, and that sometimes it is others that will inform us of our gifts that we are not even aware of, such as friendliness, good listener, caretaker etc...

Question: what are my talents?
Well, the only consistent one I can think of is sincerity. I was considered an extreme extrovert most of my life, and even though I exhibited those traits, I felt it wasn't who I really was, it was who I felt pressured to be.

Thankfully, today I'm no longer the person I felt like I had to be, and I am learning it's OK to be silent, or sit quietly. My husband is thankful for this :o)

I'm learning I can do the most when I do the least, because I'm not gifted with the talent of multitasking, or the ability to stay on focus past the 20 min. mark. The Lord has taught me, and is still teaching me to slow down, and listen instead of reacting.

I hope this comment makes sense :o)
I like the fly picture, you have a good sense of humor.

God bless you & your gift of writing

Michele Katherine

1:53 AM  
Blogger Melissa Campbell said...

I love your perspective on this! Thanks for digging deeper for the treasure.

The Lord has been speaking to me in a similar way of "seeds" lately. When we are thankful for the small things, and are willing to share them with Him and others, HE multiplies--like the bread and the fishes and the talents. In His upside down kingdom, the more is the less, and supernatural multiplication is normal. This takes the pressure off as well.

I love what Michelle Katherine shared about learning to rest.

We just need to be free to be ourselves, and thankful givers. Jesus does the rest.

Bunches of blessings!!

12:43 PM  
Blogger Melissa Campbell said...

Dear Anonymous,

Oh, how He loves you! God who is Love and Spirit created you with a spirit to know Him personally, intimately, lovingly.

You are a treasure in His eyes. And He longs for your friendship.

Dare Him to show Himself to you. He will. I promise. In ways you can't even imagine.

I join with His heart for you now and pray you will be blessed abundantly with the reality of His presence, love and care for you. He is good!

12:54 PM  
Blogger Michael Manning said...

Another fine post, Alisa! As we grow into an appreciation of the persons God has allowed us to become with the talents He has blessed us with, it takes courage at times for us to actualize them. As for me, I never cease to be amazed when I discover that someone finds me significant, is touched by me or cares. I reflect on it and understand it to be The Lord at work. :)

10:08 PM  
Blogger ******Shelly****** said...

What an interesting, thought provoking post. to ponder and meditate on this! :) Thanks for sharing!

12:46 PM  

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