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The Parable Of The Talents


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#1 William Schryver

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Posted 09 August 2007 - 02:54 PM

Iâ??m marking my 47th birthday today. As I indulge in a bit of self-reflection this day, Iâ??ve been wondering if, were I called to account for my life at this juncture, the Master would be inclined to say, â??Well done, thou good and faithful servant â?¦ .â?

I suspect that many of us feel there is a large gulf between what we know and what we do. The purpose of this thread is to obtain your opinions, or even your counsel, on how to close that gap between our knowledge and our actions. Assuming that many of you have learned how to improve upon your talents -- to increase your two to four, or your five to ten â?? what is your secret? How have you avoided falling into the category of the unprofitable servant?

So, my good MADB friends, how do you go about improving upon your talents, in the hope that one day the Master will say:

â?¦ thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.


Edited by William Schryver, 09 August 2007 - 11:24 PM.

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#2 Chris Smith

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Posted 09 August 2007 - 02:57 PM

happy birthday.

:P
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#3 karl61

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Posted 09 August 2007 - 03:02 PM



:P
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#4 Scott Lloyd

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Posted 09 August 2007 - 03:06 PM

Iâ??m marking my 47th birthday today. I would say â??celebratingâ? except that Iâ??m not sure that would be an honest characterization of my feelings as I ponder my life, its direction, and what Iâ??ve been able to accomplish â?? or failed to accomplish â?? in the almost half-century of my mortal sojourn.

Indeed, as I indulge in a bit of self-reflection this day, Iâ??ve been wondering if, were I called to account for my life at this juncture, the Master would be inclined to say, â??Well done, thou good and faithful servant â?¦ .â?

I suspect that many of us feel there is a large gulf between what we know and what we do. The purpose of this thread is to obtain your opinions, or even your counsel, on how to close that gap between our knowledge and our actions. Assuming that many of you have learned how to improve upon your talents -- to increase your two to four, or your five to ten â?? what is your secret? How have you avoided falling into the category of the unprofitable servant?

Many years ago, as a young 25-year-old father of a new baby girl (who just got married last month) I wrote a song that touches upon this subject matter. Iâ??ve been singing it today as I ponder these things. Here are its lyrics:
So, my good MADB friends, how do you avoid getting caught so far between.? How do you go about improving upon your talents, in the hope that one day the Master will say:


I don't pretend to have all the answers, Will. But I wrote a Church News editorial during the Christmas season back in 2004 that may have some relevance:

A wonderful life

For many people, a cherished yuletide tradition is watching beloved motion pictures with a Christmas theme, the heartwarming kind that seem never to lose their appeal despite how many times one has viewed them.
One such movie is "It's a Wonderful Life," the 1946 Frank Capra classic starring James Stewart and Donna Reed. Over the years millions have become acquainted with the hero of the story, George Bailey, an Everyman character with sterling nobility whose life is a string of self-sacrifices for the good of others.
George has grandiose plans to leave his small hometown, become an architect and build bridges and skyscrapers, seeing the world and becoming wealthy in the process. But his dreams are postponed and ultimately abandoned as he assumes pressing but comparatively pedestrian duties at home. He forsakes his educational goals to save his father's benevolent and beneficent building-and-loan institution from falling into the clutches of the town miser. He marries a childhood friend; they forgo their honeymoon so he can remain at home and see the institution safely through a financial panic. Over time, they rear several children as George's youthful dreams become increasingly elusive.
After a particularly devastating occurrence one Christmas Eve, George is about to take his own life but is rescued by an angel sent to help him who arranges to let George see what things would have been like had he never been born. In this way, he comes to understand how much he has impacted people's lives for the better, just by being who he is.
Undoubtedly, the film is so popular because so many of us can see ourselves in George Bailey. In youth and at the outset of adulthood, we see the world as our oyster, with shining and glamorous pearls there for the taking. Along the way, we get busy with life's duties and demands. At mid-life, some may come to a stark realization that they probably never will attain some of their long-held dreams. Perhaps they lose sight of the significance of what they have accomplished, of how rich they really are, though perhaps not in terms of worldly wealth.
President Joseph F. Smith touched on this theme when he wrote: "Those things which we call extraordinary, remarkable or unusual may make history, but they do not make real life.
"After all, to do well those things which God ordained to be the common lot of all mankind is the truest greatness. To be a successful father or a successful mother is greater than to be a successful general or a successful statesman" (Juvenile Instructor, Dec. 15, 1905, p. 752).
In general conference of May 1982, Elder Howard W. Hunter of the Quorum of the Twelve expanded on this quotation, adding: "To be a successful Primary president or den mother or Spiritual Living teacher or loving neighbor or listening friend is much of what true greatness is all about. To do one's best in the face of the commonplace struggles of life, and possibly in the face of failures, and to continue to endure and persevere with the ongoing difficulties of life â?? when those struggles and tasks contribute to the progress and happiness of others and the eternal salvation of one's self â?? this is true greatness."
From a Latter-day Saint standpoint, this perhaps is easier to see when we contemplate that each of us is asked to participate in the great gathering of Israel in this final dispensation preparatory to the Second Coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Everything we are called upon to do in the Church â?? and as dedicated fathers and mothers in the home â?? furthers that objective.
"Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great" (Doctrine and Covenants 64:33).
Maybe at some point in God's eternal timetable, we, like George Bailey, will be allowed to see in a way that we cannot know now how much good we are accomplishing just through our personal righteousness, obedience and faithfulness.
Meanwhile, we can draw comfort from a line of dialogue from the movie: "No man is a failure who has friends." That is especially the case when one of those friends is Jesus Christ, for He has said: "I will call you friends, for you are my friends, and ye shall have an inheritance with me â??
"I called you servants for the world's sake, and ye are their servants for my sake" (Doctrine and Covenants 93:45-46).

Copyright 2004, Deseret News Publishing Co.


Happy birthday, Will.
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#5 William Schryver

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Posted 09 August 2007 - 03:25 PM

I don't pretend to have all the answers, Will. But I wrote a Church News editorial during the Christmas season back in 2004 that may have some relevance:
Happy birthday, Will.

Thank you, Scott. That is an excellent editorial! I have copied it to a document that I have saved to a special folder I maintain for such things. I also love the movie It's a Wonderful Life. Although, much to the consternation of my most excellent wife, I sometimes find myself depressed after watching it -- at least momentarily persuaded that nothing much would change if I had never been born.

But I don't want this thread to be an examination of the folly of self-pity. Nor do I want it to be personally focused. I initiated the thread from a personal angle, but I'm convinced that the topic has universal application.

I am curious as to the methods different people employ to close the gap between their knowledge and their actions. For example, I've never read Covey's famous book, Seven Habits .... Are there things that people have read that have changed them from slothful talent-buriers into productive talent-multipliers? Are there specific techniques that people have employed to keep them on task?

As I look around me, I perceive that so many people are struggling in their attempts to do the things they know they should do; to match their actions to their understanding. And yet, there are many people who have seemingly "figured out" this problem; who have mastered the techniques of productive living. How do they (or you) do it?


Edit: I'll be leaving for awhile to go buy some fat t-bones and some Haagen-Daz ice cream with which to throw caution to the wind tonight for dinner (in terms of my cardio health). I look forward to reading further replies when I return ...

Edited by William Schryver, 09 August 2007 - 03:29 PM.

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#6 moreholinessgiveme

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Posted 09 August 2007 - 03:40 PM

Iâ??m marking my 47th birthday today. I would say â??celebratingâ? except that Iâ??m not sure that would be an honest characterization of my feelings as I ponder my life, its direction, and what Iâ??ve been able to accomplish â?? or failed to accomplish â?? in the almost half-century of my mortal sojourn.

Indeed, as I indulge in a bit of self-reflection this day, Iâ??ve been wondering if, were I called to account for my life at this juncture, the Master would be inclined to say, â??Well done, thou good and faithful servant â?¦ .â?

I suspect that many of us feel there is a large gulf between what we know and what we do. The purpose of this thread is to obtain your opinions, or even your counsel, on how to close that gap between our knowledge and our actions. Assuming that many of you have learned how to improve upon your talents -- to increase your two to four, or your five to ten â?? what is your secret? How have you avoided falling into the category of the unprofitable servant?

Many years ago, as a young 25-year-old father of a new baby girl (who just got married last month) I wrote a song that touches upon this subject matter. Iâ??ve been singing it today as I ponder these things. Here are its lyrics:
So, my good MADB friends, how do you avoid getting caught so far between.? How do you go about improving upon your talents, in the hope that one day the Master will say:



Happy Birthday!

Well, I derived quite a bit of comfort from your post - realizing that the same questions I now have at 37, other people, at least one other person on this planet, is having at 47. :P

One book that I might commend to your reading is:

http://www.amazon.co...n...8232&sr=8-1

I feel this book will help with the "what is your secret?" part. What I mean is -- the author is a lay member of the Church, just like you or me, and in this book he reveals his "secret". As it turns-out...there is no secret....just a willingness to rededicate yourself to the things you already know to be true.

The "there has to be more" feeling that we feel in our gut -- but find ourselves unable to articulate to others -- is what it means to receive the "fullness" of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

What we really want, deep in our gut, is to be reunited with Him while still mortal. This is what it means to receive the Second Comforter. To see Him, in person, while we yet remain very much in this world -- mortal and fallen such as we are. This promise is to all the Saints....all the faithful....it is our inheritance. It is what the Temple is TRYING (and perhaps failing miserably) to show us. We converse with the Lord through the Veil -- THEN -- what happens? We enter His Presence! What most people don't realize is that this promise does not refer to some future day of judgement....but can happen TODAY -- NOW -- if we will do what is needed to prepare ourselves. The book I gave you the link to describes the what. The rest is up to us.

1 Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am;

every soul ... shall see my face .... and know that I am.


You've believed in the Lord probably for quite some time now. Long enough. Why not have that faith converted into a sure knowledge. I invite you to claim the blessing being offered you by the Savior Himself!! That is what I seek to do. All my thought is bent upon it.


One tool that I use that helps me is to "counsel with the Lord in writing"

What I do is write in my journal -- and I direct my writing TO the Savior, directly. Then, I write down what I feel His response is. His response comes to me in my mind. It is a feeling more than words. What I attempt to do is write down in words what I am feeling from Him -- His response to my inquiry.

This is an astounding exercise....one that I try to do each day.


I hope this gives you enough to "chew on" good brother.


Good luck with your journey!


Tom
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#7 Risingtide

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Posted 09 August 2007 - 03:43 PM

Happy Birthday Bill, I won't hold myself out as an example of fulfilled potential but I do have a practice I find helpful in this reguard. I like to take stock each month on Fast Sunday. I look at my priorities and make adjustments. I pray for guidence to know what the Lord would have me address and how to address it. I have a number of stuburn weakneses that won't easily be overcome, but with patience, humility and faith, progress is made.
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#8 William Schryver

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Posted 09 August 2007 - 07:01 PM

Happy Birthday!

Well, I derived quite a bit of comfort from your post - realizing that the same questions I now have at 37, other people, at least one other person on this planet, is having at 47. :P

One book that I might commend to your reading is:

http://www.amazon.co...n...8232&sr=8-1

I feel this book will help with the "what is your secret?" part. What I mean is -- the author is a lay member of the Church, just like you or me, and in this book he reveals his "secret". As it turns-out...there is no secret....just a willingness to rededicate yourself to the things you already know to be true.

The "there has to be more" feeling that we feel in our gut -- but find ourselves unable to articulate to others -- is what it means to receive the "fullness" of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

What we really want, deep in our gut, is to be reunited with Him while still mortal. This is what it means to receive the Second Comforter. To see Him, in person, while we yet remain very much in this world -- mortal and fallen such as we are. This promise is to all the Saints....all the faithful....it is our inheritance. It is what the Temple is TRYING (and perhaps failing miserably) to show us. We converse with the Lord through the Veil -- THEN -- what happens? We enter His Presence! What most people don't realize is that this promise does not refer to some future day of judgement....but can happen TODAY -- NOW -- if we will do what is needed to prepare ourselves. The book I gave you the link to describes the what. The rest is up to us.

1 Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am;

every soul ... shall see my face .... and know that I am.
You've believed in the Lord probably for quite some time now. Long enough. Why not have that faith converted into a sure knowledge. I invite you to claim the blessing being offered you by the Savior Himself!! That is what I seek to do. All my thought is bent upon it.
One tool that I use that helps me is to "counsel with the Lord in writing"

What I do is write in my journal -- and I direct my writing TO the Savior, directly. Then, I write down what I feel His response is. His response comes to me in my mind. It is a feeling more than words. What I attempt to do is write down in words what I am feeling from Him -- His response to my inquiry.

This is an astounding exercise....one that I try to do each day.
I hope this gives you enough to "chew on" good brother.
Good luck with your journey!
Tom

Tom,

I appreciate your reply. And although I suppose that getting to the point of having one's calling and election made sure is a noble goal -- that really goes beyond the intent of my having initiated this thread. In fact, I really tried to steer the thread in such a way that it would not be perceived as being purely "personal" in nature. What I was hoping people would respond to is the question of how and/or by what means individuals have mastered the methods of magnifying one's talents; of fulfilling potential; of staying focused on goals and attaining to one's objectives. I was hoping that people would be able to recommend books or specific methods/techniques they have used or seen used.

The parable of the talents has always been a somewhat disconcerting bit of doctrine, in my view. Especially when I look around and see that (at least from my perspective) some people seem to have an innate gift of motivation; of "giddy up" that pushes them to high achievement. And, on the other hand, many people with great talent seem to struggle with staying focused on their goals, and therefore they often fail to achieve what they seem to have the capacity to do, if only they had that element of "drive" and sustained direction that seems to come naturally to others.

So, as I bump this thread to the top again with my reply, I desire to hear from those who think they've found or understand the "secret" to maximizing potential; to really multiplying one's talents like the servant who received his five and made them ten, and was praised by the Master for having "done well."
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#9 LifeOnaPlate

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Posted 09 August 2007 - 07:20 PM

Will-

Happy Birthday, brother.

After reading Rough Stone Rolling I was left with a similar feeling- the one I had after watching The Pursuit of Happyness. How in the world could a man overcome such straights in his temporal life? How in the world could a man accomplish so much in 43 years? It does make you wonder.

But I am reminded of Pres. McKay's famous "Where Er Thou Art, Act Well Thy Part."

You have likely touched more lives than you could imagine just yet.
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#10 William Schryver

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Posted 09 August 2007 - 07:40 PM

Will-

Happy Birthday, brother.

After reading Rough Stone Rolling I was left with a similar feeling- the one I had after watching The Pursuit of Happyness. How in the world could a man overcome such straights in his temporal life? How in the world could a man accomplish so much in 43 years? It does make you wonder.

But I am reminded of Pres. McKay's famous "Where Er Thou Art, Act Well Thy Part."

You have likely touched more lives than you could imagine just yet.

43 years? Do you mean Joseph Smith? He wasn't quite 38 in 1844. I guess that makes it even more amazing, huh?

Anyway, a movie I love to watch every so often is City Slickers. Probably because it is also a "mid-life crisis" movie. :P I love when "Curly" is giving Billy Crystal his words of wisdom, and he tells him that the secret of life is ... and then he raises one finger. And Billy (Mitch) is confused and says, "Your finger?" Then Jack Palance (Curly) replies by saying, "One thing." And Mitch answers, "What is the one thing?" And then Curly replies, "That's for you to figure out."

I think the problem with a lot of people is that it is hard to finally settle on that "one thing" that they decide will be their focus, rather than getting side-tracked by a dozen interests that compete against one another.
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