«For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a fur country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them» (Matthew 25:14).
Each Sabbath this month, we will look at what we should do as stewards of out talents. For some reason this parable always reminds me of an experiment that was done many years ago with a group of children.
Each child was given a marshmallow, and he or she was told that they could eat it now, or they could wait a while and have two marshmallows instead of one. If they ate the first one, they wouldn’t be given the second one.
While this experiment was intended to study self-control and see what long-term effects it would have on the child’s life, I associate it with the parable because the experiment tells us a lot about a person’s success.
The study found that the children who could wait for the second marshmallow had developed a tool that was essential for growth: they were able to put off immediate gratification in order to obtain something better, and that made them more competent. Many years later it was found that their success in school, as well as their management of stress and their social skills, were better than those of the children who had given in to the temptation of eating the first marshmallow. A study of their brains revealed that there were structural differences, with a pre-frontal cortex that was more active in the children who had waited.
What does this have to do with talents?
Well, someone who takes care of the talent they are given will receive more; they are a person with a vision for the future, with all the broadness of mind that this implies. And when I say «take care of» I don’t mean hiding it away, but rather recognizing it and giving it the place in our life that it should have. . . always with a vision of the future.
If we recognize the talent we have and we use it, but we don’t consider the fact that it can be used by God, with an influence for eternity, then we are still falling into the instant gratification of eating our marshmallow.
On the other hand, perhaps you haven’t yet discovered what talent or talents define you and make you useful in God’s service.
Today is a good day to check in with the people who love you and can help you discover your talents. But especially it is a good day to talk about this with God, so He can show you how you can serve Him better as a good and faithful steward.