Online Articles

Online Articles

Do Something! A Call to Grow Your Talents

From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.
Luke 12:48

The elders have chosen “Eager To Do Good” as our theme for this year, and both Paul and Noah have presented some powerful words for us to hear on this subject. Years ago, I saw this little mathematical equation used to demonstrate how we should think about “doing good”:

Ability + Opportunity = Responsibility

This is a wonderful way to think about what Jesus was trying to explain in the parable of the One Talent Man. Jesus is pointing out that the One Talent Man had an ability (the one talent issued to him “according to his own ability” (vs. 15)), and an opportunity (the time the master was on his journey). Therefore, according to our little equation above, that meant he had a responsibility. Now, his responsibility was not to the level of the Five Talent Man or the Two Talent Man, but he did have an amount of responsibility, nonetheless:

And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, “Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed.  And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.” But his master answered and said to him, “You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed.  Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Matthew 25:24-30

The master declared the One Talent Man to be “worthless.” He did not use what had been given him, however small, to further the cause of his master. Now, this parable uses money to demonstrate responsibility, and I absolutely agree that we should use what monetary “talents” the LORD has entrusted to us. But that should not be the limit of our efforts:

Pure and Undefiled Religion

Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
James 1:27

There is no mention in that verse of spending money. James didn’t say that pure religion is writing a check to some charitable organization. James said we are to visit the orphans and widows. The Greek word translated “visit” has a little deeper meaning than what we commonly think of when we say we “visit” someone:

  1. to look upon or after, to inspect, examine with the eyes
    1. in order to see how he is, i.e. to visit, go to see one
      1. the poor and afflicted, the sick
    2. to look upon in order to help or to benefit
      1. to look after, have care for, provide for: of God
    3. to look (about) for, look out (one to choose, employ, etc.)

To properly “visit” someone requires looking out for their welfare, to provide for their needs.  We must not think we have fulfilled our duties to our fellow man by simply writing a check. God expects us to do something, as well. What can we do? Whatever we have the ability and opportunity to do!

So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.
Galatians 6:10

Do Good to All People

We like to focus on the last part of that verse, and we are certainly expected to help our fellow Christians. But the verse also says that we are to do good to ALL people.

There are many ways we can help, and none of them involve money. Traci is very focused on volunteer work, and she often shares these activities with her friends and associates on social media, inviting them to come along and join in the fun. Alas, she has very few takers.

I would encourage us to do good to all people, even if it is just a cup of cold water:

And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.
Mathew 10:42