talent

ability
—We are surprised that our daughter has so much musical talent, because her father and I can’t even hum a tune.

Jesus told a story about a man who went away on a trip. Before the man left, he divided his money between his slaves. The money he gave them was called “talents.” We don’t know exactly how much a talent was worth, but it was a large amount.

To one he gave five talents, to another twoand to another oneeach according to his abilityThen he went on his journeyThe one who had received five talents went off right away and put his money to work and gained five more. In the same waythe one who had two gained two moreBut the one who had received one talent went out and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money in it. (Matthew 25:15-18)

When the master returned, he was happy with the two slaves who had doubled the money given to them, calling them “good and faithful.” He told them, “You have been faithful in a few thingsI will put you in charge of many thingsEnter into the joy of your master.” But he was angry with the third slave. He called him “evil and lazy,” took away the money given to him, and cast him into the “outer darkness.”

Talent originally meant a measurement of weight that was used for an amount of money. But because of Jesus’ story of the talents, it now means, in English, “ability or skill.” That is because when most people read Jesus’ story of the talents, they believe that Jesus is teaching that God gives everyone abilities that he expects them to use wisely in serving him. Others believe that the talents more correctly represent responsibilities, opportunities, or resources. But either way, the main idea is that God expects his followers to do their best with what he has given them.

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