To view the entire lesson go here: Developing Our Talents
This is a principle that I have a firm testimony about and I am so glad to read and study this chapter today. One of the great things about Heavenly Father’s plan, is the fact that each of has different qualities and abilities that make us unique. Yet, with our differences we have the opportunity to grow closer together and all become more like God.
How have you benefited from the talents of others?
I think I benefit from others talents every single day. Some provide me with the blessings of entertainment and lifting my spirit, others bless me by teaching me skills and giving me an understanding of many diverse secular things, and still others share the talents of love and kindness, a positive attitude, and so much more. The biggest blessing to me, has been that through the talents of others, I have become a much better person. When others share with me, I find it easier to come closer to Christ.
How can we develop our talents?
In my own understanding, the best way to develop our talents is to practice their use often. There are some natural talents that we are born with, which sometimes don’t take a lot of work, and there are those that we have to search for. In D&C 46:8-9 we read, “. . . seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given (v. 8); For verily I say unto you, they are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do; that all may be benefited that seek or that ask of me . . . (v. 9)”. Either way, natural or sought after, the way that these talents are really developed into what God wants for us, is for us to find ways to strengthen them and then use them for good. The best way to develop a talent for charity, is to learn how to be charitable and then do it. The best way to develop a talent for playing the piano, is to practice and then perform regularly.
I know that when we do not use our talents, we loose them. The parable of the talents told in Matthew 25 is directly related to these gifts that are given to us from God. If we choose to hide them, we cannot improve upon them or use them for good. The Lord will take them from us and give them to another so that they will be used to help further His work. There are certain things that came naturally me in my youth. I did not make it a habit of developing those things and as I got older, I realized I was no longer good at them. It is a challenge for me, to try to have those abilities or qualities now when I have the desire to use them.
How can we develop our talents in spite of our weaknesses?
Here is where my testimony really comes from. My most obvious talent to others is the ability to sing, but this has not come easy to me. Some may think that it has, but the fact is that I was born hard of hearing. To sing well, is something that takes a lot of concentration and practice for me. I don’t always trust what I hear and it can be extremely frustrating and difficult. The best answer to this question, in my opinion, is to seek the help of the Lord with our weaknesses. If we have righteous desires, the Lord will help us to become strong in all thing that we want. If we have faith in Him, he will give us the ability and tools to become better. I have tested this for myself and have been blessed by the outcome.
What are some examples of people whose talents have been magnified because they used them wisely?
I have seen many people who have been strengthened in their talents as they have used them wisely. Some of the best examples are those who use their talents on their missions. Most obvious to me has been the ability to speak other languages fluently to share the gospel. My daughter is a great reader. I have seen her talent for reading, especially her vocabulary, grow as she has made reading the scriptures a regular part of her life. My husband is a wonderful artist and I have watched his talent improve greatly as he has willingly given service to others that have used his abilities. There really are examples all around us of the strength in wise use of our talents.
I am so grateful for the talents that the Lord has given me personally. I want to discover more and I look forward to becoming better at those that I have been given already. I know that God wants to bless us with more and even greater talents than we already have. I know that gaining talents can be as simple as asking Him in faith with the intent to share them with others in good ways. I am so glad that I have been blessed by the talents of others who have courage to share them openly.