One of the more influential teachers in my life was Mrs Lucardi, my Grade 8 mathematics teacher. One day she posed a difficult algebraic equation on the blackboard and asked, ‘Who can solve this?’ There was a quiet boy in my class who raised his hand and said that he could. Everybody laughed. Mrs Lucardi was one of those teachers who could silence us with one look – and she did.
The boy solved the equation and then sat down. Someone said, ‘He’s just showing off.’ Mrs Lucardi said, ‘Can anyone else solve this equation?’ No one raised their hand. ‘He wasn’t showing off. He was using his talent for math. It’s not showing off when you can actually do what you say you can do.’
In the New Testament there is a special word for ‘talent’ – charism. It’s the root of the word ‘charisma’ and ‘charismatic’. It’s most frequent use in the New Testament is to describe the talents God has given to the disciples of Jesus to do what God knows we can do. God distributes these charisms freely and widely. No one ever possesses all the talents necessary for any given ministry. We learn to rely upon one another and, God hopes, we come to value the talents God has given to us without falling prey to envy that we don’t have the talent or talents of somebody else.
God does expect us to use our talents and not hide them under a bushel basket (see Matthew 5.15). In fact, God desires that we actually search out the talents among us and help others discern what their talent or talents are. No one is without a talent or two or three or perhaps more. Every one of us has been gifted by God with something we’re actually quite good at doing.
This Advent, I invite you to consider what talents God has given to you and how you can dedicatee these talents to further God’s purposes in our life as a Parish, in the life of our community at large, in the life of our world.
But perhaps you already know what your talents are, but you’re worried that someone might think you’re showing off if you offer to use them. Well, as Mrs Lucardi said, it’s not showing off if you can actually do what you say you can do. In Holy Trinity Cathedral’s network of service, worship, evangelism, education and pastoral care, there are many opportunities for your talents to be used well. God calls us all to find ways for our passion to be put to use in God’s mission. All it takes is to let your talents shine.
Vicar of Holy Trinity Cathedral