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Where Does Your Ability Stop

Abilities are different from person to person. Some have many abilities; others have few. The abilities which we do have, whether few or many, have been given to us by God. These lessons are manifest in our Lord's parable of Matthew 25:14-30, which has been called "The Parable of the Talents."

Another lesson which one cannot help but see is that the Lord does not condemn a person because he has few talents, nor does He reward a man just because he has many talents. The fivetalent man did not receive a blessing because of his many talents, but because he used the five talents he had. "And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant..." (25:20, 2 1).

On the other hand, the one-talent man was not condemned because of his one talent, but because he did not put the talent to use. "Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art a hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: and I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth, lo, there thou hast what is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant..." (25:2426). We, too, will give account. We, too, will stand blessed or condemned, not because of the number of abilities which we possess, but because we have either used the talents, or have not used them.

Many people in the Lord's body possess talents. Many of them are as the one-talent man and are not using them. They will be cast "into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Mt. 25:30). For one reason or another, they refuse to use the talent. To those who have buried their talent in the earth, we want to ask this question, "Where does your ability stop?"

With some individuals their abilities stop where their "I don't want to's" begin. It is not that one does not possess the ability to teach a Bible class, but he just does not want to. One may be able to lead singing, or lead prayer, or wait on the Lord's table; but his "I don't want to" keeps him from it. Members fail to make visits to shut-ins, nursing homes, and hospitals just because they simply don't want to.

With others, ability stops where indifference sets in. Multitudes of preachers could reprove false teaching, but they are indifferent to it since it does not directly affect them. Hundreds of Bible studies could be taking place, but the saved are indifferent to lost souls.

Another place where ability stops is when using the ability will cause time to be lost from more preferred activities. There are those who would rather watch television than prepare a dessert for a family facing a funeral. For a host of others, the beach takes precedence over Bible study. Clubs and associations are more important than the work of the church for scores of others.

Where does you ability stop? Is it where your "I don't want to" comes in? Could it be where indifference has stilled your soul? Maybe it is where time lost in other areas can be felt. It may be that your ability has stopped where your anger has begun. Remember the parable of the Master, whatever your excuse for not using your talents, you will stand condemned for not putting to use the talents which God has given you.

-Victor M. Eskew, The West Side Epistle
Glad Tidings of Good Things
Volume 8/January 23, 2003
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