Who, in truth, is responsible for developing your God-given gifts (someone who believes in you, your pastor, someone who empowers you, you)? There may be no perfect answer but Jesus seems to say that ultimately we ourselves are personally responsible. He tells this story:
“And the one also who had received one talent came up and said, “Master, I knew that you are a hard man . . . I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.” His master replied, “You wicked, lazy servant . . . you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. Because everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 25:24-30).
God wants us to take hold of our raw talent and develop it. He accepts no excuse to bury any talent we can use for His glory. Better to risk it all, even lose it all, than to not try at all.
Success is never guaranteed. Even so, God never delights in a gift that is untried. It takes some faith just to begin developing any gift. That should’t stop anyone. “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6).
The men and women who grew the early church exercised faith and took chances. They put their gifts on the line. They even “risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 15:26).
You see, the kingdom of Heaven only moves forward by those who take risks — the kingdom stalls out, however, by those who are timid. Listen to how Jesus makes the call: “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it” (Matthew 11:12).
So, when it comes to you, when it’s time to begin developing your talents, small or great, remember this — to play it safe is risky.