Talents and gifts

Is there a difference between a God-given talent and a God-given spiritual gift?

Yes, I believe there is. Doing a word search/study on Talents, we first notice that this was a measure of money back in Bible days. I think it is such a word play when we look at the servants of the harsh master. The Master gave each servant according to his abilities. To one, he gave five talents, to another he gave two talents and to the last he gave one talent. Noticing that each received according to his abilities is important. (Matthew 25)

The Hebrew word translated talent means round as in a round tract of land or a large, round coin. We say today that if a person is well-rounded, then he or she has sufficient skills and abilities to maneuver within a wide range of situations and/or problems with reasonable success potential. In Israel, a talent of gold weighed approximately 200 pounds. At today's prices, that would be about $3.2 million dollars for one talent (since gold prices fluctuate so much on a daily basis we'll call it $1,000 per ounce).

The Master did not give abilities, he gave the talents according to abilities. I find that so interesting. Paul tells us that he would not have us ignorant concerning the gifts so he describes them as Spiritual gifts in Romans 12 and in 1 Corinthians 12 which is followed closely by the Love Chapter 1 Corinthians 13.  That wasn't by mere chance. 

Romans 12:4  For even as we have many members in one body, but all members do not have the same function, 5  so we the many are one body in Christ, and each one members of one another, 6  but having different gifts according to the grace given to us...

The gifts are given so that we may actively participate in God's works through our functions.

In 1 Corinthians 12:21-26, Paul explains that each organ of the body has its own contribution to the body whether it is an "unseemly" part or a "seemly" part that needs no adorning, God has combined the various parts of the body, giving special honor to the humbler parts so that there might be no sense of division in the body but all organs might feel the same concern for one another. 

A finger cannot see the myriad colors of a calico kitten's fur as the eye can see. An eye cannot feel the soft fur of that cuddly kitten. Neither the finger nor the eye can hear the soft contented purr of that kitten, but the ear can. Put the organs together and the joy of the experience is not quite complete. We must have a hand to cradle the kitten and we need the cheek to ruffle the fur and the shoulder for the kitten to lay upon. Not once did the tongue have to do anything in that particular scenario. 

In order for the kitten to have a complete experience, however, the hand and fingers and cheek cuddle and stroke, but the soft voice gives great comfort as well as assurance that all is well for the kitten.
To say that a person must speak in tongues in order to have the fullness of the Holy Spirit is actually limiting the Spirit's usage of the whole body for a complete ministry of God's work.

We must not only know what to do, we must know how to do it. The Bible gives us that instruction, and it takes the whole body to absorb it to the fullest. Paul explains it thus:

1Corinthians 12:4  And there are differences of gifts, but the same Spirit; 
5  and there are differences of ministries, yet the same Lord. 
6  And there are differences of workings, but the same God is working all things in all. 
7  And to each one is given the showing forth of the Spirit to our profit. 

Differences but all of the same Spirit, given by the same Spirit for the same useful purpose which is the edifying of the body and the winning of lost souls to Christ.  Unity in purpose, but not uniformity in how we perform or function within that purpose. 


Stan said...

I wouldn't look at the biblical term "talent" for an answer there. As you point out, their term "talent" was a reference to a sum of money.

The difference in my mind between "talent" and "gift" is that everyone gets talents (everyone is good at something), but not everyone gets gifts. Gifts are reserved for those who have the Spirit. (Of course, as you rightly suggest, all of them are given by God.)

Refreshment in Refuge said...

Exactly, and you reminded me that I have another half of this to post...

Have you seen my brain around here??