THE argument that our life is in a rut and that there are no opportunities to use our talents can sometimes be pretty convincing.
Once I wanted to go into the community and play the piano. I had the ability to do it, but I told myself I didn't have any opportunities. I lived in a rural area with a baby and two other children, my husband was in the military and away a lot, and I had no baby sitter. I surely knew how to think negatively!
But I was a new student of Christian Science, so I went to the Bible for guidance and inspiration and read Christ Jesus' parable of the talents (see Matthew 25:14-30). This parable actually rebukes unimproved opportunities. It woke me up to the realization that I had to change the way I was thinking about myself. In the parable, one servant was given five talents (a sum of money), another two talents, and another one talent to take care of while their master was away. The first two servants used their talents and were rewarded with praise, and with more money from their investment, but the servant who was timid and hid his one talent was rebuked and had it taken away.
I suddenly saw that God intended us to use the talents He gives us. He would not give us a talent without also giving us the opportunity to express it. A "talent" can be interpreted as any gift, quality, or attribute that comes to us from God. Since man is the image and likeness of God, who is Spirit, we are all "talented"-all the beautiful graces of Spirit are ours by reflection. And we are all capable of expressing these lovely qualities because we are never separate from our source. In his letter to the Galatians, St. Paul points to some of our God-given talents-"love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance" (5:22, 23). In the book of Isaiah we read, "This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise" (43:21).
Yes, God wants us to use our talents to praise and glorify Him! And the parable promises that if we do use them, they will grow and we will be rewarded.
So I became a willing servant to God. I prayed daily for opportunities to use the gifts He had given me and was willing to let the idea of playing the piano in the community unfold in God's way. Very soon after that a Sunday School teacher mentioned that they had been unable to sing hymns for several weeks because they had no pianist. I got the job. This was the beginning of a steady stream of opportunities to play the piano that began coming to me and never stopped. I discovered along the way that my ability to play popular music had a value on the open market-something I hadn't known before. My talent had grown, as promised by the parable.
What is it that removes the obstacles we think are standing in the way of expressing our talents? It's the freeing spiritual understanding that comes to us-it came to me when I read the parable-the understanding that utilizing our gifts is actually God's will and therefore is a natural part of our life. It doesn't have to be a struggle. Our life is spiritual, and whatever is needed to express our talents, God, Spirit, supplies. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, underscores this when she writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, "Science reveals the glorious possibilities of immortal man, forever unlimited by the mortal senses" (p. 288).
Immortal man is the divine image and likeness and has God-given dominion over the limitations reported by the material senses. This is who we really are. Our true being can never be limited by other people, by where we live, or by other material factors, such as age or race. But we have to be willing to work, like the two servants who used their talents and multiplied them. We have to pray and listen for God's direction, and keep remembering that it is God who is giving us inspiration, strength, intelligence, ability, and the opportunity to express these qualities.
We are always at the standpoint of opportunity, because God and man are inseparable. We can take whatever talents we have and use them to praise God.