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Friday, December 14, 2007

Parable of the Talents

When I was a young boy, I studied at a Christian school. Under each desk, there will be a bible - hard-covered and dirt green. One day, I brought it out of the classroom and took it home with me. I never return it and I always felt guilty for 'stealing' it. Anyway, the bible fascinated me so much that I think I read every single page and completed it in a couple of days or weeks, I don't remember clearly, but I skipped the last book - Revelation - as I deemed it a bit abstract. I wanted to save it later for dessert. I had a very amazing recollection of what was in the bible despite the fact that I only went through it once. Somehow, I understood the bible passages pretty well except for the one that talks about leaving your father and mother behind in order to follow him to his kingdom. Weird. But anyway, I think later I understood what it actually meant.

Well, one of the passages that I remember and try to practice in real life is from the "parable of the talents (Luke 19:11-27)". The story goes something like this. A king summoned his servants and gave them some money (50 cents or something) and told them they could do anything with it (or something like that). Some time later, the king asked them what they did with the money. Servant A said he dug a hole and kept it in the there. Servant B, on the other hand, used the money to do business and came back with more money. So, the king was disappointed with Servant A but very pleased with Servant B. Hmmm...

(The parable of the talents, as depicted in a 1712 woodcut. The lazy servant searches for his buried talent, while the two other servants present their earnings to their master. source)

So I learned early on that it is important to use your talents and gifts in the right way. You can dedicate it to God in glory or however you feel to express gratitude to the One. You probably have seen some immensely talented individuals who scaled great heights in their careers and yet able to keep a humble attitude in life. Humility has a neutralizing effect on ego, which grows as you continue to achieve more success. By being humble, we can avoid being trapped in a world of illusion created by fame and success. That being said, appreciate the talents that you have and use it wisely, like servant B. Most people are like servant A,however - either they don't realize how much talent they have or they are just plain lazy or too comfortable to move their butts.

Then again, there are also people lacking in talent, but make up by being very hardworking and dedicated in their endeavours. The King must be very, very pleased with this servant.....