“I could get a lot more accomplished if I had Bill Gate’s money.”
“Hey, if I went to Harvard I would be just as smart as him.”
“If people listened to me, things would be better.”
These three sentences are probably ones you’ve heard before. Perhaps you could trade the specifics, but they always are the same: If I had – I could do.
As an excuse for our lack of performance, we often will claim that if we had the resources of another we could have done better. This problem was succinctly summed up by Hamilton Mabie.
“The question for each man to settle is not what he would do if he had means, time, influence and educational advantages, but what he will do with the things he has.” – Hamilton Mabie
As I boy, I remember listening to a conversation between my father and another farmer. The farmer was telling my father how hard it had been to make ends meet out of the three acres he was farming. He bemoaned that if he only had a larger farm he would make a living and then some. My father politely nodded his head in sympathy. Later, he told me that the reason the farmer wasn’t making anything was because he wasn’t using his fields properly. Many farmers he knew where using less than an acre and making more out of it than this particular farmer.It’s not how large your fields are that matters as much as how you use them. It’s foolish to claim that you need more land, more education, more influence, more money, when you cannot make the best use of what you already have in your grasp.
In two gospels, Matthew 25 and Luke 19, we hear parables that are similar in nature, often referred to as the Parable of the Talents. In this story, a ruler goes away, but leaves three servants with money and tells them to make it increase. The first is given five and increases it to ten; the second has two and increases it to four; the third takes his one talent and buries it.
When the ruler returns, each man must give an account for how he used the money and increased it. The ruler rewards each man accordingly. When the final servant brings him the one talent, the ruler becomes angry. As an excuse, the servant says he was afraid to lose the one talent and anger his employer. The ruler asks why he didn’t just put it in the bank. He casts out the worthless servant and has the talent given to the one with ten saying, “For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”This parable is generally considered a darker one Jesus preached, but it fits well here. We each have a certain amount of talents, be they actual talents or money, or education, or even a farm field. What will we choose to do with them? Will we bury them, hoping not to make them worse, or will we exercise them to increase our capital? Examine the parable. If you have managed well what you have already, you will, by one means or another, gain more. He who ill manages what he has, as little as it is, he will readily lose it.
Throughout our lives we will see others that have more than us, but rather than using it as an excuse we should view it as a goal. Instead of complaining about what we don’t have, or how our current situation is unbearable, use it to the best of your abilities. Grow as much as you can in the field you have now. Manage it well, and it will bear greater rewards in the future.
This week, I’m growing my talents.