January 14, 2022

Guest Column / Richard Etienne

Build the kingdom by using your talents to serve God and others

Richard EtienneHave you consciously taken an inventory of the knowledge, strengths and skills that God has given you to use?

And just as importantly, how are you doing in using those gifts in building his kingdom?

I grew up in a home where my parents actively sought to further their education in faith as adults. And at the critical time I was growing from a child into a young adult, part of my parents’ education was clearly focused on the newly released insights of the Second Vatican Council.

As I developed, one strong message that always stayed with me was that I could do and be anything in life: I only had to use those talents that God gave to me.

In my young mind, this was one of the key messages from Vatican II. No big deal, a person might think. But this single thought has shaped my entire life.

My knowledge and skills are not just for me. These gifts are to be used in the service of God—to bring glory to God’s name. (No big burden there.) Be whatever you want—as long as you are using your talents to serve God and others.

We read the Parable of the Talents in the Gospel of St. Matthew (Mt 25:14-30), where a talent represents coins. In this passage, we see one servant bury their talents, while the other two people in the story invest their talents wisely and are rewarded by their master.

The servant who buries his talent is described as “wicked and lazy” (Mt 25:26) and has his single talent taken from him. The message is clear to me—we are to use our talents as we discover them.

As I continue to look at how I am living out my vocation, I ask myself, “What talents do I have to use at this particular time in my life?” I also ask: “How can I best apply these gifts to serve God and others?”

These are questions worth pondering during the quiet moments you carve out for the Lord.

Do you have time now to cease busy tasks and sit quietly with the one who sent his first disciples into the world to share their talents? If your answer is “no,” why not make time to discern how the Lord is asking you to use your talents to build his kingdom?

(Richard Etienne has a degree in theology from Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad and resides in Newburgh, Ind.)

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