Thursday, August 1, 2013

Talents and Missionary Work

Last week I was really struggling with feelings of inferiority. I kept letting in evil little thoughts that said things like, "you'll never be a good enough missionary, there's so much you can't do, you should just give up, you're going to miss out on everything, no one wants to hear what you have to say anyway." 


If you are not familiar with the Parable of the Talents, or if you need a refresher, here is an overview as told by Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Seventy: 

"Jesus told the story of a master who gave each of his three servants a sum of money. The amounts were set according to each servant’s previously demonstrated capabilities. The man then left for a long time. When he returned, he asked each of these servants to report what he had done with the money.

The first two servants revealed they had doubled his investment. 'Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord,' was the master’s reply.

The third servant then came trembling before his master. He had already heard what the others had reported and knew that he could not give a similar report. 'I was afraid,' the servant said, 'and went and hid thy talent in the earth.' The master was upset. 'Thou wicked and slothful servant,' he said. Then he commanded, 'Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.' 

The Savior then gave the interpretation of the parable: Those who obtain other talents receive more talents in abundance. But those who do not obtain other talents shall lose even the talents they had initially."

(see Matt. 25:21-28)

Admittedly, most days I hide the talents my master has given me. I am often afraid that if I were to share them and they are not warmly accepted by every. single. person. in the whole world, I would be a failure. Dishonor! Dishonor on your whole family! Dishonor on you, dishonor on your cow, dis... (name that movie) There will always be someone better at whatever I try to do. Might as well just pretend I don't have any talents and hope Heavenly Father doesn't notice, right?

Ha! WRONG! This is exactly what Satan wants you to think, and you should probably reconsider your strategies. This is war!    

First of all, "Every one of us has been blessed with many marvelous capabilities, and one of the great objectives of our journey through mortality is to improve upon them." And don't you forget it.

Elder Rasband discusses 3 principles that have helped me apply this parable of Jesus. They coincide ever so perfectly with missionary work, that's what I think! I call it The 3 Step Program to Becoming a More Confident Missionary...or something like that.

ONE: "Seek earnestly to discover the talents the Lord has given you." What a great first step! Identify some of your strengths. If you are having trouble doing this, think of things you like to do. If you really like to do it, you might have a talent for it (: Also, ask close friends, family members, and ward leaders to help you determine where your strengths lie. Many times others can see in us what we find difficult to see in ourselves. Study the scriptures and your Patriarchal blessing; ponder and pray for insight and inspiration. Don't rule out small and simple things! 

TWO: "Use your talents to build up the kingdom of God." I can't think of a better way to use them! We all have many opportunities to help others identify their talents. I am so grateful for the many people who have helped me identify, strengthen, and add to my talents. Successes in lives of those we lift as they pursue their own talents can bring us great joy (: Not to mention, focusing on serving the Savior can guide us toward making better decisions in our daily lives, and well as support strong missionary work. When we teach with the loving Spirit of God, we can better cater to the needs of each individual investigator and bring cherished souls unto Christ. This perspective prepares us to do whatever the Lord may ask of us at any time, (including serve a mission when you didn't even know you wanted Or when the Lord sends you one big trial of a companion, etc.) I also have a testimony that when we use our talents to build up the kingdom of God, we receive the courage to share them and strength to help them grow. I have definitely experienced this recently in my own life. President Gordon B. Hinckley exemplifies this important attitude: “My talents may not be great, but I can use them to bless the lives of others. I can be one who does his work with pride in that which comes from his hand and mind.” Love him! 

THREE: "Acknowledge God’s hand in your success." If you're not doing this already, slap yourself. Now fix it. Like Elder Rasband, I am thankful for the knowledge Heavenly Father has given us. We are His children and we are to magnify and multiply our talents to our fullest potential. If we will work hard and do our best, using our talents to bless others and build the kingdom of God, we will be brought back into His presence and hear Him say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” 

You are good enough. You can do it. 

When we acknowledge, develop, and multiply our talents, we are more capable of using them to serve the Lord, especially as we serve full-time missions. You will never know the lives you can touch, until you reach. 

Parables of Jesus: The Parable of the Talents BY ELDER RONALD A. RASBAND Of the Seventy

Questions, comments, concerns? Share below! (:

1 comment :

  1. Great advice young lady. Your are and will be an awesome missionary.