screen-shot-2013-06-25-at-145021Talents
Each of us is unique. Yet we are all made in God’s image and carry qualities and characteristics which he has generously given to us. Some have multiple talents while others have less. But we learn from Jesus’ teaching through the parable of the talents in the gospels (Matthew 25:14-30 and Luke 19:11-27) that the key issue is not about quantity but about faithfulness.

The context is one where he is teaching about being ready for the coming of the kingdom (Matt 25:1) and of his coming again. Although the imagery is one of finance, the meaning is about what has been entrusted to us to steward wisely. At the final judgement we shall be assessed according to what we have done with these gifts (1 Cor 3:12-15). It will not affect our salvation but it will affect our reward.

So, when serving in the church it is important that we make available to bless others the talents and skills that God has entrusted to us. If we are too ‘humble’ to make them available we become like the servant who hid the talent in the ground where it yielded nothing.

Do you spin goats hair?
The Hebrews had 40 years wandering in the wilderness. They had no point of reference for worship so God told them to build the tabernacle which would house the Ark of the Covenant and represent His presence among them. God gave them a detailed description of what the tabernacle should look like and how it was to be constructed.

In Ex 25-38 we read a detailed description of the construction including how the work was carried out. It seems everyone was exhorted to be involved, whether through giving or through using their skills – including spinning goats hair (Ex 35:26) – not a commonly sought skill these days! This was to be carried out by those with a willing heart, ‘whose heart stirred them’. We shall return to this later.

What do you have to offer?
We all have God given talents. Some are skills we are ‘born with’ others have been acquired through training. Some are expressed through hobbies or recreation, others provide a source of income.

In identifying these to make them available to the church leadership and to the benefit of the community it is sometimes helpful to have a checklist to help people to recognise what they have to offer. Different churches do this in different ways. But a list could start with those skills that are recognised through employment – teaching, IT skills, building, gardening and so on. You could then go on to list skills such as home-making, sewing, carpentry, activities that are more part of our day to day lives and recreational activities. To illustrate, here is an extract from a questionnaire we used at CCK some time ago (it is now all electronic).

screen-shot-2013-07-10-at-1255252

This chart includes an indicator of skill level and whether they wish to learn more. I will enlarge on these next time.
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