There is a ‘parable of the talents’ in the bible, in which a master gives to his servants each a certain amount of money, and this money is called a talent. Two of the servants use their money to make more money, and the master is very pleased with them. The third servant buries his money in the ground, so he doesn’t put it to use at all. The master is not pleased with this third servant, because he has wasted his talent.
So, what does this really mean? I think the point is that you are given certain talents or spiritual gifts at birth, and it is your job to put them to use so that you increase your talents over time. Just having the talent and not making the effort to keep growing throughout your life is a waste of your potential. It is also interesting that the talents in the parable were used to grow the fortune of the master. This may suggest that we should use our talents to benefit others, since we are all servants.
As I’ve mentioned, the more I teach, the more my own talent for doing math and explaining it, seems to improve. I am putting my knowledge to good use, by helping students to improve their ability and so I am blessed myself.
On a side note, it seems that the most successful people are those that have a one-track mind. That is, they figure out what they enjoy doing and have a talent for, and they focus all their energy into doing that one thing, exceptionally well. As Jim Rohn said, “Whatever is important to you, make sure you study, practice and teach it”, and you will surely improve yourself while serving others.
Napoleon Hill said that every human being has complete control over only one thing, and that is their own mind, provided they take control. Earl Nightingale suggests that because we are all freely given this ability at birth, most people take it for granted, and so they waste it. The parable of the talents suggests that those who do not take control of their own minds will lose this most important gift.
I always have this in mind when I’m teaching math, because it is certainly a subject where there is no substitute for thought. I feel my goal is to get as many students as possible to realize that they can think on their own, and solve problems without anyone telling them what to do.
Many people are hoping or wishing to solve a problem, while not really making a serious attempt to do so. They give up before they have even started, never realizing the potential of their own mind to overcome any obstacle. What a difference it would make if they decided ahead of time that they would stick with the problem until they found the solution!
So, be sure not to waste what you have been given freely, for it is worth more than any material thing in this universe.