On Stewardship and the Orthodox Life - Part 35: Talents I

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31 RSV)

Among the many things that God has lent to us for use in our lifetime here on earth are our talents. The word “talent” comes into the English language from the original Greek word that meant a sum of money, a denomination of coin – like a silver dollar. Today the word means an aptitude or a skill. Like all the other gifts that are ours only by the love and generosity of God, talents have been lent to us by God. We have borrowed them for this life for one purpose: to help prepare us and the Christian community for the next life.

We are to look to God for all that we possess, or think we possess. Like our money or our time, our talents are not possessed by us – we have them to use.

When we are sick or in need of a doctor’s care, we rely on the delicate touch and the expertise of a physician. His or her knowledge of the human body, its functions and its diseases, as well as methods of cure and care, are not the doctor’s own: they are a showing forth of the power of God. God has lent the doctor these talents.

Name it: the skill of the carpenter with hammer and saw; the strength of blacksmith who rings out hammer on anvil; the beautiful sounds of a choir or soloist; the creative genius of a computer programmer; the caring love of a priest for his parishioners; the dedication to protecting our lives and country shown by law enforcement officers and members of the military – these are not skills gained simply by study and hard work, nor are they just “in the genes” as explained by many. God has created human beings in His image. He has entrusted to humans a part of His own essence to be used in His service and for His people.

But these types of talents are not the only talents that have been let to us by God. It may be a new and different way to look at “talents,” but in keeping with the original (and Biblical) use of the word talent, consider the following:

Property is a talent. All that we have belongs to God, without question. The only purpose that we “own” anything is to further the cause of Christ and His Church. Every Baptized and Chrismated Christian is to share in the work of Christ and the outreach of the Church into the world. If our “property” is money – the use of that money is a talent to be perfected into how best to use money in the outreach of the Church.

(Continued next week)

 This weekly series of brief thoughts on stewardship and Orthodox life is brought to you by your Diocesan Stewardship Commission.

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