The Kingdom parable Jesus taught in Matthew 25:14-30 tells us very plainly that God is the talent Giver. The apostle Peter wrote that these talents are an expression “of the manifold grace of God.” We also find in the New Testament lists of gifts that have been given to the Church to glorify the Lord and edify one another. These lists are in Ephesians 4:11,12 (ascension-ministry gifts), Romans 12:6-8 (motivational gifts), and 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 (spiritual gifts). Each one of us possesses at least one of these gifts, and most of those in the Body of Christ are gifted from both the Romans and Corinthian lists. These gifts are given to every man to profit others.

I’d like to point out that there are expressions of these gifts that we may call ‘natural abilities’. Some are gifted to sing or play an instrument. Others have that ability to listen to hurting people and minister to them in the compassion of Christ. There are those whose business minds help balance checkbooks and organize things. Many gifts! Many talents!

However, these gifts don’t just operate on ‘auto pilot’. No, they must be stir-red up. It seems that Peter found it necessary, not so much to feed God’s sheep something new, but rather to stir them up about things they were already taught. God blesses the Church with gifts to minister to each other as well as to minister to the lost. In other words, some gifts are for edification and some for evangelism.

When Jesus told us to go into all the world and make disciples, one of the tools He gave us was the talents we’ve been talking about. However, the talent thief oftentimes gets the upper hand and thwarts our effectiveness for God. One aspect of this ‘thievery’ is excuses. Moses said he couldn’t talk. Gideon didn’t think God could use a ‘nobody’ like he felt he was. Jeremiah’s excuse was that he was too young,10 whereas Timothy apparently was plagued with fear.

Let us never forget that God knew what He was doing when He gave us our various abilities. Many people are losing out on blessings for themselves and others because they are afraid or ashamed to use their gifts. This is nothing less than an attack from the number one talent thief, the devil.

Dearly beloved, don’t allow the enemy the freedom to quench the Spirit in your life any longer. Remember that “perfect love casts out fear,” and Jesus loves you perfectly. Don’t be afraid of failing or making a fool of yourself. Take that step of faith today. You’re an overcomer, not an underachiever. Both the devil and our flesh collaborate to neutralize our gifts. Pull down those strongholds. All-sufficient grace and strength are there to gird you up. (Read Isaiah 41:10.)