Growing up as little children in elementary school, we had little or no knowledge about how to store our pens. Their covers would be gone in a few days and we would keep them with the nib facing up or down. The result, well, doesn’t need much guess – the nibs soon dried up and the ink wouldn’t flow anymore.
Next, we’d go hunting for ants to put inside the plastic ink container. Maybe the ants released some chemicals that reacted with the ink making it flow again- I can’t tell. The important thing was that the ink began to flow again and we only had to worry about the dry nib. We would then shake the pen vigorously multiple times until it could write. This operation was repeated each time we had to take notes or write exams, and it wasn’t funny.
After several years, I’ve learnt to preserve my pens – always keeping them horizontally; when the nibs are in a vertical position, their covers must be on them. These simple ways of preservation are good but there’s a risk of dryness if the pens are left unused for a long time.
So, I realised that the best way to preserve my pens is to use them. That simple operation of writing with them every day keeps the ink flowing and the nib wet. Even if I simply have to write my name and keep it back, that’s ok. It’s better than leaving it unused.
You see, while some material things may wear and tear with each usage, some others MUST be used as often as possible to keep me preserved. One of such things is the invaluable talents and gifts that our Creator has bestowed upon you.
The Parable of the Talents
You would recall the parable Jesus gave in Matthew 25:14-30 concerning a man travelling into a far country, who called his servants and gave them talents. He distributed the talents according to the ability of each person, without leaving anyone without some measure of talent.
While two servants used theirs and made profits, one was wicked and slothful with his portion. The result was that the diligent servants not only preserved what was given to them but increased their sphere of influence. While the unprofitable servant not only lost his only talent but was punished for his slothful and wicked disposition.
A single oil flask
The wife to one of the sons of the prophets in 2 Kings 4:1-7 didn’t realise the potential of that single oil flask until she went, borrowed other vessels and began to pour. She discovered that the oil in her gallon could fill as many vessels as she wanted. But the moment she exhausted all the vessels available and stopped pouring, the oil ceased from flowing.
There’s nothing that kills talents as inaction, laziness and lack of understanding. Had she not heed the instruction of the Prophet Elisha, the creditor would have taken her two sons as slaves.
Muscle atrophy due to non use (inactivity)
Muscle atrophy can occur when a particular muscle is not being put into any use. The body notices this and begins the process of breaking down that muscle to conserve energy for other body functions. Simply put, the body provides nutrients and blood supply to the muscles that are working. The ones that are inactive for a long time get wasted. An example is when someone is bedridden due to a disease or is recovering from an injury, he is immobile and so the muscles of the arms or feet begin to thin down (or waste)
So, here are some takeaways.
1. Just like the ink and the parable of the talents, what you don’t use you lose.
2. The best form of preservation is usage, is trade, is trying, is studying, is diligence.
3. The level of influence you’ll command depends on the level of turnover you make with your talents. Increase in your sphere of influence is proportional to your increase in value. Matthew 25:21.
4. Hard work works. It’s true that there’s a place for grace. But grace is the reward God gives to people who work hard with the talents He has given to them; it is grace for gifts used. Deuteronomy 28:12. Ephesians 4:7.
5. Jesus dislikes people who aren’t trading with their talents, who are lazy, always suspicious and unprofitable. But He cherishes diligence and persistence. 2 Thessalonians 3:10
6. A Fiat 500 that works is far better than a Lamborghini packed in a garage that doesn’t work. Ecclesiastes 9:4.
7. The gift that will make room for you is the one you use, not the one lying dormant. No one will see the gift and invite you to a table, what they want to see are results. Proverbs 18:16.
8. Audience is a product of doing business with your talent(s). You do business with your one talent, God grants you an audience before those that matter. Proverbs 22:29.
9. God does not require us to succeed in our trade, He only requires us to try. Success is part of His job description, attempt is yours. Psalms 75:6-7. Proverbs 21:31.
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