A few weeks ago in church, the pastor made an analogy about limiting our prayer life. He was trying to convey the idea that often we don’t get what we really want because we ask God for less than the best. He compared it to “…asking for five-dollar favors from a billionaire.” The notion has been rattling around in my head ever since. Today, I realized how that practice affected my life.
Connecting The Dots
I was absentmindedly flipping through the front and back pages of my bible this morning and landed on the units of measurement page. I’ve read it before, but it never made an impression on me until today. The last measurement was for a talent. I was honestly shocked by what I read.
The Value Of A Talent
Though talents are a monetary amount in the parable, given the context, I’ve always understood it to be gifts from God – talents in the aptitude sense of the word. I don’t think I had ever conceptualized how much a talent was worth monetarily, but I didn’t think it was a huge amount. So when Jesus tells the Parable of the Talents, I imagined that the man given one talent had a hundred dollars or less. However, what I learned today was that a talent was worth the equivalent of a year’s wages! I started researching. During Jesus’ time, a monetary talent would be between 33-50,ooo times the cost of a gram of gold. That’s like 2-3 million dollars today.
I’ve Got Questions
Why would anyone give that much away?
Why didn’t I realize it was worth that much?
Why would he simply bury something so valuable?
Why had I underestimated God’s generosity?
A single talent was worth way more than, what I thought, the person who had been given the most was given. Suddenly, it struck me. The talents I’d been given I’d been treating like five-dollar favors from a billionaire. In undervaluing my own talents, I had been limiting myself – not because God had limited me, but because I hadn’t appreciated their worth.
Crunching The Numbers
If every single talent or gift God had given me had a physical price attached, would I value them differently? It made me reevaluate my talents and blessings. It made me realize that there was another area of my life where I was not necessarily being a good steward of the gifts God had given me. No wonder in the story the person received such harsh punishment for doing nothing with the talent given.
If I gave someone that much money to invest, I’d be upset if they simply buried it. In doing nothing with it – it didn’t even retain it’s value – it lost value. In not using my gifts – all my gifts – for God’s glory, how much have I short-changed His bounty, His ministry, His mission? What could I do with a gift of music, writing, helping, listening, hopitality, creativity, art, speaking, or the countless other gifts God has given people to work with – if I truly valued what I had?
Talents & Five-Dollar Favors
So, today I’m going to sit down and write a list of my talents with HIS value in mind. It will only be an inkling of what God has blessed me with, but I’m going to start “investing” the way I should have. Maybe you’d like to too! God doesn’t want to give us five-dollar favors! He wants to give us “a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and overflowing…”
“I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”