Christ's Object Lessons
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 25: Talents
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The value of man is estimated in heaven according to [p. 355] the capacity of the heart to know God. This knowledge
is the spring from which flows all power. God created
man that every faculty might be the faculty of the divine
mind; and He is ever seeking to bring the human mind
into association with the divine. He offers us the privilege
of co-operation with Christ in revealing His grace to the
world, that we may receive increased knowledge of heavenly
Looking unto Jesus we obtain brighter and more distinct
views of God, and by beholding we become changed. Goodness,
love for our fellow men, becomes our natural instinct.
We develop a character which is the counterpart of the
divine character. Growing into His likeness, we enlarge our
capacity for knowing God. More and more we enter into
fellowship with the heavenly world, and we have continually
increasing power to receive the riches of the knowledge and
wisdom of eternity.
The One Talent
The man who received the one talent "went and digged
in the earth, and hid his lord's money."
It was the one with the smallest gift who left his talent
unimproved. In this is given a warning to all who feel
that the smallness of their endowments excuses them from
service for Christ. If they could do some great thing, how
gladly would they undertake it; but because they can serve
only in little things, they think themselves justified in doing
nothing. In this they err. The Lord in His distribution
of gifts is testing character. The man who neglected to
improve his talent proved himself an unfaithful servant.
Had he received five talents, he would have buried them
as he buried the one. His misuse of the one talent showed
that he despised the gifts of heaven. [p. 356]
"He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful
also in much." Luke 16:10. The importance of the little
things is often underrated because they are small; but they
supply much of the actual discipline of life. There are
really no nonessentials in the Christian's life. Our character
building will be full of peril while we underrate the
importance of the little things.
"He that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much."
By unfaithfulness in even the smallest duties, man robs his
Maker of the service which is His due. This unfaithfulness
reacts upon himself. He fails of gaining the grace,
the power, the force of character, which may be received
through an unreserved surrender to God. Living apart
from Christ he is subject to Satan's temptations, and he
makes mistakes in his work for the Master. Because he is
not guided by right principles in little things, he fails
to obey God in the great matters which he regards as his
special work. The defects cherished in dealing with life's
minor details pass into more important affairs. He acts on
the principles to which he has accustomed himself. Thus
actions repeated form habits, habits form character, and by
the character our destiny for time and for eternity is
Only by faithfulness in the little things can the soul be
trained to act with fidelity under larger responsibilities.
God brought Daniel and his fellows into connection with
the great men of Babylon, that these heathen men might
become acquainted with the principles of true religion. In
the midst of a nation of idolaters, Daniel was to represent
the character of God. How did he become fitted for a position
of so great trust and honor? It was his faithfulness
in the little things that gave complexion to his whole life.
He honored God in the smallest duties, and the Lord
co-operated with him. To Daniel and his companions God [p. 357] gave "knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom; and
Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams."
As God called Daniel to witness for Him in Babylon,
so He calls us to be His witnesses in the world today. In
the smallest as well as the largest affairs of life He desires
us to reveal to men the principles of His kingdom.
Christ in His life on earth taught the lesson of careful
attention to the little things. The great work of redemption
weighed continually upon His soul. As He was teaching
and healing, all the energies of mind and body were
taxed to the utmost; yet He noticed the most simple things
in life and in nature. His most instructive lessons were
those in which by the simple things of nature He [p. 358] illustrated the great truths of the kingdom of God. He did
not overlook the necessities of the humblest of His servants.
His ear heard every cry of need. He was awake to the
touch of the afflicted woman in the crowd; the very slightest
touch of faith brought a response. When He raised from
the dead the daughter of Jairus, He reminded her parents
that she must have something to eat. When by His own
mighty power He rose from the tomb, He did not disdain
to fold and put carefully in the proper place the
graveclothes in which He had been laid away.
The work to which as Christians we are called is to
co-operate with Christ for the salvation of souls. This
work we have entered into covenant with Him to do. To
neglect the work is to prove disloyal to Christ. But in
order to accomplish this work we must follow His example
of faithful, conscientious attention to the little things. This
is the secret of success in every line of Christian effort
The Lord desires His people to reach the highest round
of the ladder that they may glorify Him by possessing the
ability He is willing to bestow. Through the grace of God
every provision has been made for us to reveal that we act
upon better plans than those upon which the world acts.
We are to show a superiority in intellect, in understanding,
in skill and knowledge, because we believe in God and in
His power to work upon human hearts.
But those who have not a large endowment of gifts
need not become discouraged. Let them use what they
have, faithfully guarding every weak point in their
characters, seeking by divine grace to make it strong. Into
every action of life we are to weave faithfulness and loyalty,
cultivating the attributes that will enable us to accomplish
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