Christ's Object Lessons
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 25: Talents
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Habits of negligence should be resolutely overcome. [p. 359] Many think it a sufficient excuse for the grossest errors to
plead forgetfulness. But do they not, as well as others,
possess intellectual faculties? Then they should discipline
their minds to be retentive. It is a sin to forget, a sin to
be negligent. If you form a habit of negligence, you may
neglect your own soul's salvation and at last find that you
are unready for the kingdom of God.
Great truths must be brought into little things.
Practical religion is to be carried into the lowly duties of
daily life. The greatest qualification for any man is to obey
implicitly the word of the Lord.
Because they are not connected with some directly
religious work, many feel that their lives are useless; that
they are doing nothing for the advancement of God's
kingdom. But this is a mistake. If their work is that
which someone must do, they should not accuse themselves
of uselessness in the great household of God. The humblest
duties are not to be ignored. Any honest work is a blessing,
and faithfulness in it may prove a training for higher trusts.
However lowly, any work done for God with a full
surrender of self is as acceptable to Him as the highest
service. No offering is small that is given with
true-heartedness and gladness of soul.
Wherever we may be, Christ bids us take up the duty
that presents itself. If this is in the home, take hold
willingly and earnestly to make home a pleasant place. If you
are a mother, train your children for Christ. This is as
verily a work for God as is that of the minister in the
pulpit. If your duty is in the kitchen, seek to be a perfect
cook. Prepare food that will be healthful, nourishing, and
appetizing. And as you employ the best ingredients in
preparing food remember that you are to give your mind
the best thoughts. If it is your work to till the soil or to
engage in any other trade or occupation, make a success [p. 360] of the present duty. Put your mind on what you are doing.
In all your work represent Christ. Do as He would do in
However small your talent, God has a place for it.
That one talent, wisely used, will accomplish its appointed
work. By faithfulness in little duties, we are to work on
the plan of addition, and God will work for us on the plan
of multiplication. These littles will become the most
precious influences in His work.
Let a living faith run like threads of gold through the
performance of even the smallest duties. Then all the daily
work will promote Christian growth. There will be a
continual looking unto Jesus. Love for Him will give vital
force to everything that is undertaken. Thus through the
right use of our talents, we may link ourselves by a golden
chain to the higher world. This is true sanctification; for
sanctification consists in the cheerful performance of daily
duties in perfect obedience to the will of God.
But many Christians are waiting for some great work to
be brought to them. Because they cannot find a place large
enough to satisfy their ambition, they fail to perform
faithfully the common duties of life. These seem to them
uninteresting. Day by day they let slip opportunities for
showing their faithfulness to God. While they are waiting
for some great work, life passes away, its purposes
unfulfilled, its work unaccomplished.
The Talents Returned
"After a long time the lord of those servants cometh,
and reckoneth with them." When the Lord takes account
of His servants, the return from every talent will be
scrutinized. The work done reveals the character of the worker.
Those who have received the five and the two talents
return to the Lord the entrusted gifts with their increase. [p. 361] In doing this they claim no merit for themselves. Their
talents are those that have been delivered to them; they
have gained other talents, but there could have been no gain
without the deposit. They see that they have done only
their duty. The capital was the Lord's; the improvement
in His. Had not the Saviour bestowed upon them His love
and grace, they would have been bankrupt for eternity.
But when the Master receives the talents, He approves
and rewards the workers as though the merit were all their
own. His countenance is full of joy and satisfaction. He
is filled with delight that He can bestow blessings upon
them. For every service and every sacrifice He requites
them, not because it is a debt He owes, but because His
heart is overflowing with love and tenderness.
"Well done, thou good and faithful servant," He says;
"thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee
ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."
It is the faithfulness, the loyalty to God, the loving
service, that wins the divine approval. Every impulse of
the Holy Spirit leading men to goodness and to God, is
noted in the books of heaven, and in the day of God the
workers through whom He has wrought will be commended.
They will enter into the joy of the Lord as they see in
His kingdom those who have been redeemed through their
instrumentality. And they are privileged to participate in
His work there, because they have gained a fitness for it
by participation in His work here. What we shall be in
heaven is the reflection of what we are now in character
and holy service. Christ said of Himself, "The Son of man
came not to be ministered unto, but to minister." Matt.
20:28. This, His work on earth, is His work in heaven.
And our reward for working with Christ in this world is
the greater power and wider privilege of working with
Him in the world to come. [p. 362]
"Then he which had received the one talent came and
said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping
where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast
not strewed; and I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent
in the earth; lo, there thou hast that is thine."
Thus men excuse their neglect of God's gifts. They
look upon God as severe and tyrannical, as watching to spy
out their mistakes and visit them with judgments. They
charge Him with demanding what He has never given, with
reaping where He has not sown.
There are many who in their hearts charge God with
being a hard master because He claims their possessions
and their service. But we can bring to God nothing that
is not already His. "All things come of Thee," said King
David; "and of Thine own have we given Thee." I Chron.
29:14. All things are God's, not only by creation, but by
redemption. All the blessings of this life and of the life to
come are delivered to us stamped with the cross of Calvary.
Therefore the charge that God is a hard master, reaping
where He has not sown, is false.
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