Give as you can and use your talents wisely

By: J.A. Bolton - Storyteller

As quick as you are born, it’s human nature to want to try new things. That’s a good thing. We soon find some things are easier done than others. Some just come natural to us while others seem to be harder for us to accomplish.

The good Lord gives different talents to each of us and I assure you that each one of us is granted some type of talent. Some of us don’t seem satisfied with our talents and try our best to add to our list of things we are good at.

There are some people who are blessed with beautiful singing voices, while others can play all types of musical instruments with very little effort. Some find it easy to stand and speak before a group of people while others are just good listeners. Some are professional people while others are just your average Joes. Others practice and practice on different talents only to find out this is not their thing in life.

I’m a good example of one who once thought he would like to sing, but my hopes came crashing down when I didn’t even make my elementary choir tryouts.

I said to myself, “Well, if’n I can’t sing, maybe I can play a guitar.” Wrong! I saved up my tobacco money and bought me a used five-dollar Kay guitar. You can plainly see from this purchase that I wasn’t going to start at the top.

Well, I got myself a guitar teacher and practiced every chance I got, even though it made my fingers hurt like crazy. I reckon I tried to play that guitar for six months and I just wasn’t getting it. I figured out that wasn’t one of my God-given talents, so I traded that five-dollar guitar to a friend for a hog — something I knew what to do with.

When I retired, I bought up all types of musical instruments hoping maybe I could finally learn how to play at least one. I even managed to buy two large bass fiddles but found out owning two bass fiddles at one time is about like having two wives: There just ain’t room for both of them in the same house.

Try as I may, I’m still a wannabe when it comes to playing musical instruments.

I have told stories all my life. I reckon that was one of the talents God gave me. It was only about 14 years ago that I starting writing down my stories. I had a good mind for history and could easily remember things from my past.

Folks ask me “How in the world can you remember all these stories and be able to tell one after the other?” The only thing I can say is that it takes a little practice and it’s an ability or talent that the Lord gave me.

As I said before, the Lord blesses each of us with different talents. Why, I once knew a fellow who was a genius in bookwork but didn’t have enough common sense to get in out of the rain and I’m sure you know of such people. You see, it takes all types of people to make this old world go ‘round and we should use our talents to the best of our abilities to help ourselves and above all, other people.

Jesus, in the Book of Matthew, tells a parable about the consequences of using our talents or not using them wisely. To paraphrase this parable, a rich man is going on a trip to a faraway land and he calls his three servants, and delivers unto them his goods.

To one he gave five talents, and to another he gave two talents, and to the third he gave one talent (a talent being 80 pounds of silver). The two servants who had the most talents went and invested their talents and they doubled in value while the third went and hid his in the ground and it just laid there. In other words, it wasn’t used.

When the master returned, each servant came and gave an account of his use of the talents. The master was well-pleased with the servants who used their talents but with the one who hid his in the ground, he was angered, and gave the one talent to the one who had the most talents.

There is a great lesson to be learned from this parable and that is, it doesn’t matter whether we have been given great talents, abilities, wealth or very little of either. What matters to God is whether we make good use of what we have been given, whether great or small.

Another example of giving our all also comes from the Bible. It says that Jesus sat in the temple and positioned himself across from the temple treasury. Jesus saw many rich people come and put in large amounts of money. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.

Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others, for they gave our of their wealth, but she, out of her poverty, put in everything — all she had to live on.”

I hope that you can use this story as a guide to better use your God-given talents, whether great or small, and maybe help brighten someone else’s day along the way.

J.A. Bolton is a member of the N.C. Storytelling Guild, the Anson County Writers Club, the Anson and Richmond county historical societies and the Story Spinners in Laurinburg.

J.A. Bolton