July 2024 student leader devotion
Missions Discipleship

Use Your Talents: Matthew 25:14–30

Matthew 25:14–30 is a familiar parable — the parable of the talents. In this parable, a rich master calls three servants before a long journey. The Bible records that he gave each one different amounts of “talents” (bags of gold) according to their ability. When he returned, he wanted to find out what they did with the money.

Two of the servants doubled the money in the time he was gone by wise investments and hard work. The last one was afraid to lose his money, so he hid it and did nothing with it. The master rebuked the third servant and said he should have put it in a bank to gain interest. Frustrated with the bad stewardship of the lazy servant, the master took the little money and gave it to the servant who earned the most. Then he commanded the third servant to be thrown into the darkness outside.

We can apply this to our lives. We can deduce that the “master” is God who has given us each various resources which can be used to bring glory to God and to enrich the kingdom of God. I find it interesting that the story says he gave according to their ability. I also find it encouraging that he says the exact same thing to the one who was given two bags and the one who was given five bags: “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness” (Matthew 25:21 NIV)! It is reassuring to know that God’s approval of our use of the gifts He has given us is proportional to what He has given. There is no need for me to envy the person who seems to be more “gifted” than I am. God knows what He has given me and He is only concerned with how I used those gifts.

It is ironic that I was asked to write a devotional on this specific topic because just yesterday I had a very challenging discussion with a missionary I spoke to for the first time. I am a missionary in Botswana and have heard of this one missionary couple, but we were never in the same circles. Yesterday, I had a reason to call her and we talked for 3 hours and 39 minutes! Her life is a living testimony to this verse. I was so inspired!

This missionary told me about a time when she and her family moved out of her home to share their home with a missions team. She explained it was a humble home, but it was all she had to give so she gave it willingly. The members of the missions team were so moved by this selfless investment that they decided to build her a “house so big she feels guilty sometimes living in it,” as described by the missionary.

She was faithful with what she was given and God blessed her with more. She shared how she began to take in orphans and God began to continually provide. Now they run a full-fledged orphanage and God has provided every step.

I was challenged because her experience caused me to reflect on the number of things to which I have said, “I can’t do that because I don’t have enough resources. That would be too inconvenient. What would happen to my family if I brought these strangers in?” The list goes on and on with excuses I have made over the years.

Yet, this woman used the talents God gave her and God faithfully multiplied them 100-fold! As I hung up the phone, I got on my knees and prayed, “Give me the faith, God, to surrender everything you have given me!”

I prayed that I might share in my Master’s happiness as I take what He has given me — as little as it might be — and give cheerfully, serve diligently, and invest wisely into God’s kingdom. For His glory, for our joy! May I use every gift and talent He has given me in such a way that He could say to me, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”

Ashley Thaba and her family live in Botswana where they use media as a platform to teach biblical family values on an international level. They do this through television in Botswana and through weekly national newspaper columns in Zambia, Eswatini, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Malawi. They also work with the government to lead village-wide campaigns that promote biblical family values.