At all kinds of competitions, no matter whether they are club championships or Olympic Games, winner and looser stand close together. The ones rejoice, the others lament.
The looser might then put the question, "Why? Why does always the other one win and not me? What has been unjust? Who has been guilty?" Is it unfair that the one person possibly is more talented than the other?
Yet the winner, too is standing at a turning point. What comes afterwards, after having perhaps already won everything that can be won? Is there any further goal beyond all the victories that had already been achieved?
The question arises, what is meaning of it all.
In the New Testament of the Bible Jesus tells a story about talents. A "talent" at those days had been a currency. Yet it is also possible to use the word "talent" in another sense, as being gifted. God created each one of us and supplied us with all kinds of talents or gifts.
Perhaps you have already been wondering what kind of gift you might have received. Or do you think that it is unfair that another person perhaps seems to have received more talents than you? Reed this story, and then we will discuss it.
It is like a man going abroad, who called his servants and put his capital into their hands; to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, each according to his capacity. Then he left the country.
The man who had the five went at once and employed them into business, and made a profit of five talents, and the man who had the two talents made two. But the man who had been given one talent went off and dug a hole into the ground, and hid his master’s money.
A long time afterwards the master returned, and proceeded to settle account with them. The man who had been given the five talents came and produced the five that he had made: "Master," he said, "you left five talents with me; look, I have made five more." "Well done, my good and trusty servant!" said the master. "You have proved trustworthy in a small way; I will now put you in charge of something big. Come and share your master’s delight." The man with the two talents then came and said: "Master, you left two talents with me; look, I have made two more." "Well done, my good and trusty servant!" said the master. "You have proved trustworthy in a small way; I will now put you in charge of something big. Come and share your master’s delight." Then the man who had been given one talent came and said, "Master, I knew you to be a hard man: you reap where you have not sown, you gather where you have not scattered; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here it is – you have what belongs to you." "You lazy rascal!" said the master. "You knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered? They you ought to have put my money on deposit, and on my return I should have got it back with interest. Take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents." (Matthew 25, 14 – 28)
What are your thoughts concerning this story? Which of these servants are you yourself? Do you think that the master is unjust? After all he gave five talents to the one servant, two to the next, and only one to the third.
Think of your last sport competition or of your career in business. Do you think that it is unjust when another person is more talented or perhaps more successful than you are? Are you envious?
Have another look at the beginning of the story. It is correct that the master gave a different amount of talent to his various servants. But there is something else written as well, .... each according to his capacity.
The master knows his servants, and to each of them he gave as much talent as this servant had been able to get along with. God also knows each one of us, and thus supplied each on of us with very special talents. God never is unjust!
Every single person has a very unique personality and value, you do, too! God granted each one of us very special skills. It is up to us to discover them and to cultivate them. Thereby we should not always compare ourselves with other people and their skills, because each one of us received specific individual talents. It is very exciting to discover them, to cultivate them and to multiply them.
I myself e.g., really enjoy sports shooting. Yet at the moment my training schedule is not more than doing it once or twice a week. In winter sometimes I don’t do any training for several weeks. I probably have an average amount of talent in this field. My success is accordingly.
On the contrary to this when you look at Ralf Schumann the winner of the Olympic gold medal, you can be sure that he is a lot more talented than I am. Yet this is no reason for me to be envious. Apart from his great talent Ralf Schumann is usually training for shooting several hours per day. In my life other talents are more important than sports shooting.
When looking at my students in the dance classes, I clearly see that they have different amounts of talent concerning dance. Apart from that the one is more talented in the one section and the other in a different field of dance. The more talented a student is for dancing, the more training is necessary in order really to be among the best ones. It is by far not enough any more to come once a week just for fun.
When looking at this story from the Bible we discover that both, the one with the five talents just as the one with the two talents really worked hard with them. The master rewards both of them in precisely the same way.
So it is important that we use our energy according to our talents, and success will come consequently. Of course, not everybody can win an Olympic gold medal. But not everybody is striving for this. In former times I really would have enjoyed participating in Olympic Games. For sure this is an overwhelming and unique experience. But when looking back I have to admit that there had been different experiences that I had been permitted to make, and I am very grateful for them. It never is possible to have everything, and it does not make sense to start working in too many different fields. It is better to discover one’s own specific talents and to cultivate these.
Yet the question arises: What happens when two people do the same amount of training, yet the one is more successful than the other, simply because he or she is more talented? Is this unjust then?
Let us look at the story. The one with the five talents eared another five. The one with the two talents eared another two. So in the end the one had ten talents and the other had four "only", although both of them had worked with the same intensity. Is that hard for the second one? Is it a reason to be sad or frustrated?
In a way it is sad, indeed, when having intensively been training for a competition, yet at the end one only arrives somewhere in the middle because there are those that are more gifted, more talented.
I think at such a point one has got to be very realistic and one has to realise that although having personally given the utmost best, there are others that are even better, even if this might appear sad at the moment.
But don’t remain sad, rather look at what the master said in this situation! To both of them, to the one with the ten talents and to the one with the four talents the Master says precisely the same, ".......... Come and share your master’s delight."
God precisely knows how talented each on of us is, and what each one of us is talented for. After all he created us. God, the Master, expects us to work hard according to our talents and not to hang around in a lazy way. Yet God does not expect anything impossible from us! God is happy when we have success according to our talents and our strength, even if from human point of view such a success might be very small. God measures in a very different way than we humans do.
A very long time ago I once had a slightly physically and mentally handicapped child in class. The girl always remained in the beginners’ class and even there she hardly managed to follow the others. Yet one day she managed to perform an exercise correctly. You should have seen the joy and the sparkling eyes of this girl! For that girl this had been a fantastic success, a big reward for training intensively and an enormous strengthening of self confidence.
Yet still another question is coming up: What about those with the ten talents who succeeded to reach the very top? What comes after having won an Olympic gold medal?
A friend of mine has a dream of what he wants to do some day. It is a certain journey. From the financial point of view he would easily be able to have this dream fulfilled to himself. Yet he does not do it. His argument is the following: "Then I would not have any more dream, then I would not have any more goal." What is the use of a life without any goal?
Yet are a certain journey or the winning of an Olympic gold medal the ultimate goal of a life? What is your purpose of living?
I personally found this goal, and I am feeling good with it. I know that God loves me. I know that Jesus died for me and was resurrected for me, and I personally accept this love of God. I thank God for being so gracious to say precisely to me: "..........Come and share your master’s delight."
He would want to say that to you, too, because He also loves precisely you. Why don’t you start to read in the Bible and explore it? God will speak to you, and if you are interested in coming to know him personally, he will give you love and joy.
In this case, however, one important point is different from what we read in the story of the ten talents. We cannot work for entering heaven, no matter how nicely we behave or how hard we are striving for this. When looking at our story you read that the master already had his servants. He is not going out in order to employ them. Concerning this aspect there are different parables in the Bible. By the way, God does not only offer us a "job" in his realm, he even want us to become his children. He is giving this to us not because we are that worthy of it but exclusively because He loves us.
If you are interested get on your way to God, and you will find him. Also have a talk with other Christians. They will surely tell you how they found God.
Foto mit freundlicher Genehmigung von Ralf Schumann, dreifacher Olympiasieger mit der Schnellfeuerpistole