Continuing with our reflection on Christian stewardship, this week we will take a closer look at how we can use the gift of our talents on our mission of discipleship in this life.
Remember last week we discussed Jesus’ great commission when he told his apostles to go and make disciples of all nations, and how that this call to action applies to us as well (Mt. 28:19). After a period of intentional, focused prayer, the Holy Spirit descended upon them and enabled them to speak many different languages so that they might use that gift in order to convert others to Christianity, which they did (Acts 2:1-41). The ability to speak to different groups of people was not something they sought out or worked to cultivate by their own human desire, but rather a gift of talent, freely given to them by God with an implied invitation to use the gift in their mission of creating disciples. You also have talents given to you by God, which He invites you to use for the good of His Kingdom on Earth.
Last year, you may have evaluated how you could use your talents better to serve God and others, only to find that the instability of 2020 either thwarted your attempts or distracted you from your intended commitment. I think that happened to many of us. I know my own family was used to sharing our time and talents in service to others on a weekly and monthly basis, which suddenly and sadly came to a grinding halt. I can’t imagine what each of you has had to sacrifice in terms of offering your talents for the glory of God and the service of others. It is stifling and depressing when you have the gift of a talent that you cannot easily share with God and others. We are humans and we are made to give of ourselves for the sake of communion with others. We desire in our hearts to share our authentic selves in order to build up the Body of Christ.
Just as the human body has many parts – ears, eyes, feet, stomach, elbows, etc. – the Body of Christ is made up of many parts, all with their own gifts, in order to make the body function properly. If your body was made up entirely of eyes, you would see wonderfully, but you would have a hard time getting anywhere. Or if your body was made up entirely of ears, you could hear well, but you would not be able to nourish your body with food or keep it healthy with exercise. The same is true for the Mystical Body of Christ. If we all had the same gifts and talents, it would not do much good for us in our mission of discipleship. In order for the entire Body to function properly, all of the talents must be used together in harmony with one another. Like at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit has descended upon you and bestowed you with special gifts, along with an invitation to use them accordingly to help you in your mission. You have something to offer the Lord and other human beings that no one else has to offer. How can you respond to this invitation, even in trying times?
We are in a period of time where Satan seeks to divide the Body of Christ in all things. He is trying to divide us through our differences of opinion, our philosophies, and our practices, but he is also working to divide us physically and personally from one another. A body is intended to exist in union with itself and communion with all of its parts, so we are suffering greatly as a whole from the division of all of the parts. Just as he does with time, Satan whispers lies to us, such as, “There is nothing you can do.” We must dig deep to explore our talents and how we can creatively use them to stop Satan’s plan to divide the Body. We must seek to use our talents to encourage union and communion with others and with God so that our mystical body can continue to thrive and move us forward on our path to salvation.
None of us know what the next year holds; we never do. However, that does not change the fact that we are still continually invited to enter into the mission of discipleship with the gift of our talents, and we are still called to evaluate how we use those gifts over the coming year. If we are open to God’s grace working within us, we become resilient and adaptable, whatever the situation. Change in circumstances does not negate our role in the missionary work of becoming and creating disciples of Jesus Christ. Even without knowing what the future holds, it is still possible to commit to using our talents in the service of God and others. The key is understanding that because these talents are gifts from God for the specific purpose of His salvific work, He wants you to use them in any and all circumstances, no matter how challenging. It is not His will for you to hide or what you have to offer others even if you are confined in your home. What this means is, that if you pray and ask Him to show you how you can use your talents in any situation, He will.
As you look forward to the coming year, reflect on all of the unique talents you have to share with the world. Perhaps you discovered talents that you didn’t even know you had because you were forced to explore new things in the year 2020. How can you work to use those talents, regardless of your circumstances? Sometimes it helps to brainstorm with those who know you and your talents well to come up with creative ways of sharing yourself and Jesus with others. Satan and the world will always throw curveballs at us, but that doesn’t have to stop us from being good disciples and good stewards of our talents.BACK TO LIST