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Ivonia
01-10-2006, 04:46 AM
There was a parable in the Bible (sorry, I don't have a Bible handy, and I don't know the passages and verses inside out like some people seem to be able to do), where Jesus told of a man who would become a king, and gave some of his servants talents to keep for him until he came back.

I was wondering, could this be interpreted as "gifts" given to us by God? As in our special talents and skills, that we should use to bring more people to Him That's what I was getting from this parable. One man who was given a talent made back ten talents, one made back five, and the third man hid his away, instead of using it.

Or am I wrong in this interpretation? I've always been under the impression that these kinds of things were meant to be interpreted figuratively rather than literally in most cases.

What I'm saying here is, I think God has given me a strange gift. I've always had an active imagination, and loved daydreaming a lot. I tried to be creative with whatever I did in life. For example, I know I'm going to sound really weird here, but when I worked as a busboy, I got tired of simply "clearing the table", so rather I thought of it as "attacking a star destroyer" ala star wars. Strange, but it got the job done hehe. I still remember making "an enchanted map" to the "enchanted bookshelf, containing books of knowledge and power", back in the 2nd grade lol (I'm sure the kids must've thought I was weird when I would walk around their desks rather than head straight to the bookshelf lol). I've done some other silly stuff (which I don't think I need to show here, as I"m sure you're already convinced that I'm a geek or dork :tongue).

I'll admit I've only been a Christian for about 8 years or so now (and I've read the Bible since then, rather than just listening to someone tell me about it), so I don't know everything I could yet (I think I have a good solid foundation though of the teachings in it).

I've still got a creative streak in me (I could never get myself to be interested in doing "regular" work, as I find it kind of boring. I did a short internship at an insurance company, and did good work, but had to quit due to joining the army, more on that later hehe), hence why I want to be a writer lol. But the thing is, I don't just want to write any kind of story. I want to write one that'll be popular, yet contains Christian themes in it (prior to reading the Bible, I never knew the "golden rule" was one of the things Jesus taught, I really didn't). They won't be too explicit (and consequently turn some people off automatically), but hopefully it'll be clear enough messages that'll have people think.

So what I'm asking here is, do you think it's okay if I work for God in this way? The direct approach doesn't seem to work well (I never liked having people come to my house or approaching me on the street and asking me if I wanted to be saved), probably because of all the "bad stuff" that you hear "christians" doing on the news and what not (not to mention those televangelists ugh).

I can share with you guys how I came to God later (which I can probably write a small book about lol. It's interesting though, and probably radically different from what you're used to hearing of how people find God, and will help you to understand more why I'm asking this question in the first place), but first I'd like to hear what your opinions are, if I might have the right idea, or what I'm saying is preposterous, and that I should be burned at the stake right away hehe.

mdin
01-10-2006, 08:13 AM
Before I answer, you might want to be aware I'm not a Christian, but I am a bible... enthusiast. Kind of like some people like The Lord of the Rings.

It's an interesting question.

For those who don't know, talent = a specific amount of money. In the parable, the guy rewards those who increased the amount of money entrusted to them and rebuked the one who kept the money safe, but didn't increase it either.

To me, it always seemed to mean spread your faith or you're just as bad as all the other godless heathens. Many real bible scholars disagree and think of it simply as a story about the importance of hard work. We're probably all right considering the many layers most parables have.

Either way, I'm pretty certain you're safe. If you want to write about starships and aliens and not just about Christian themes, I doubt there's a Christian out there who'll think you're doing the wrong thing. While you are required to attempt to spread your faith to godless heathens like me (something countless Christians don't do, and depending who you ask, you guys are just as likely to burn as I am. Haha.), you also have to make a living. The parable never really says how the two servants increased their talents. The first one "traded" for it, but it doesn't say traded what.

Puddle Jumper
01-10-2006, 08:22 AM
Before I answer, you might want to be aware I'm not a Christian, but I am a bible... enthusiast. Kind of like some people like The Lord of the Rings.
Have you ever read "The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict" by Josh McDowell? He started writing that book to disprove Christianity and became a Christian in the process. :)

Pat~
01-10-2006, 09:09 AM
I've always interpreted that parable about the talents (a NT form of money equal to 6000 times a day's wage) to be about faithfulness and stewardship. What we are given in this life we are to invest or use wisely (whether financial blessings, natural abilities, intelligence, etc.) in the service of the King (God). I'm not familiar with any interpretation that this is about 'converting the heathen'. This parable echos the thought expressed elsewhere by Jesus, "to whom much is given, much shall be required" (Luke 12:48). Paul expressed similar thoughts in the following verses:

2Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. (1 Corinthians 4:2)

10Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. (1 Peter 4:10)

mdin
01-10-2006, 09:18 AM
Have you ever read "The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict" by Josh McDowell? He started writing that book to disprove Christianity and became a Christian in the process. :)

I actually ordered that book a long time ago, and I never got it. I ended up getting a refund. I'll try to get it again.

Ralyks
01-10-2006, 03:50 PM
I was wondering, could this be interpreted as "gifts" given to us by God? As in our special talents and skills,

That's usually how it is interpreted by most Christians. It's rarely interpreted literally to mean "invest your money wisely." In fact, for many years, the church made it illegal to invest your money at interest (despite this parable)!

The "talents" are usually regarded as the unique skills you posses, which should be used in service to God to produce fruit of some kind (and there's lots of ways to serve God besides just evangelizing.)

Edgarallenwannabe
01-10-2006, 08:56 PM
To return to the issue of writing directly in an evangelical fashion, or simply writing fiction....

It's a matter of great prayer, and I think in many cases, the Lord will lead writers individually to different conclusions. I know for myself, I've been 'wrestling' with the same issue for several years. I sincerely wanted to write a 'Christian' story to submit to 'Christian' publishers, but became frustrated because it felt less like a creative work, and more like I was doing a homework assignment with certain rules. I only recently decided to simply write the story, and then decide to submit it to the publisher it should go to, AFTER it is done...more than likely, it will end up going to a secular publisher, and I'm fine with that. It's consistent with what the Lord has been doing in my life; I'm an English teacher working on my Masters in Education & Creative Writing, I'm a father and husband, and that's all the Lord has lead me to do. I belong to a good, solid church, and while I believe all Christians should be concerned with the ministry of their daily walks, I have not been lead into outreach ministry. Therefore, I write....because I feel led to tell a story, and that's it. As a Christian, I feel obligated to write a story that is moral with spiritual values and themes, and I will not engage in anything that would be blasphemous and non-Christian...but that's all I feel obligated to.

In my personal opinion, I wonder at the division between secular and christian works of fiction. On one hand, as a Christian who desires to be careful of what I put into my head, (the old 'garbage in, garbage out' theory), I understand and see the need for the provision of literature that does not clutter the mind like the weeds of the world, (farmer and the seeds, book of Luke), but on the other hand, along with the message of the talents..and others messages in the scriptures about those who have been called to be teachers, ministers, etc...as well as the parts about being all part of one body with many functions...whether or not you feel you should write something evangelical in nature or not should be a personal matter between you and God; you've searched your heart and God's Will, and have been lead in either direction. For me personally, I'm sure I will write a story someday that will be more evangelical...this one just isn't going to be one.

Think about it...(although, check my facts, because I'm just boning up on my Lewis currently)...I doubt CS Lewis wrote Narnia to meet Christian publisher standards; he wrote a story he felt lead to write. There are many other writers out there who are Christians, and have remained solely in the secular market: Madeline L'Engle, Tolkien had his leanings..and some who have made the jump to the secular market...(who's the guy who wrote the Pendragon series and Byzantium? He's now in the secular market)

So....how much that helps I don't know..

www.kevinlucia.net (http://www.kevinlucia.net/)

silentpoet
01-10-2006, 09:17 PM
I think there are some decent explanations above about the specific parable. But I want to add a thing or two about parables. I think the reason Jesus spoke in parables is because they are open to interpretation and require you to think about them. He spoke them to get people to thinking and considering things. The old testament law said to do this or not do that. Jesus wanted people to do more than just follow a set of rules.

MadScientistMatt
01-11-2006, 07:28 PM
...So what I'm asking here is, do you think it's okay if I work for God in this way? The direct approach doesn't seem to work well (I never liked having people come to my house or approaching me on the street and asking me if I wanted to be saved), probably because of all the "bad stuff" that you hear "christians" doing on the news and what not (not to mention those televangelists ugh).

If you find that trying to use "the direct approach" doesn't seem to "work for God," that may very well be a sign that He wants you to try something else. There didn't used to be the same sense of division between Christian and secular books that there are today, and if you want to write books that pose Christian questions and bring Christian perspectives to an audience that doesn't read "Christian books," I say go for it.

Lyra Jean
01-11-2006, 08:04 PM
The parable of the talents could be taken as money management and/or using your gifts that God gave you to bring more people to Christ.

As far as writing the story. Write the story and then on rewrites beef up the christian aspects/themes. When you feel it is finished see if it fits the christian market or the secular market. How much do you need to change to make it fit into the secular market? How much to fit into the Christian market? Choose the market that your story fits in the most.

This is how I would do it anyway.

Nateskate
01-11-2006, 11:56 PM
It is important to think beyond the box in terms of this life and God's purpose for us. I'd say a broader brush can be applied here than some people are using. In general it means we have been given what we have been given, and not to take it for granted, and that ulitmately we are accountable for what we were given and how we use it.

Jesus told a parable about a Good Samaratan, and in the story, the man used his resources to help another man lying on the road. If you follow the story, the Samaratan was the least spiritual of all the people who passed by this injured man, and yet, he did what was the obvious thing. He helped him.

Now it is obvious from the fact that Jesus used this illustration, that in doing this he was doing God's will "Love thy neighbor". You can't "Love" without doing something spiritual by the way, for God is love, whether you know you are doing something right or not.

Back to the point. We did not see the Samaratan preaching to this man, "I'm helping you because I want you to read this little tract in my pocket." And he didn't flash his Christian Witness card to the Inn-Keeper. In fact, we don't know anything about his spiritual views, only that he did by nature what "Love thy neighbor" does.

"He gave them according to their abilities..." Gifts/talents...etc are not all one in the same thing. We have a number of things. 1) A leaning toward some function. "Some he made teachers...administrators..." meaning that God equipts us with some ability. Then beyond that, there are levels of ability. On a scale of 1-5, some are writing enough to be published, others are writing enough to change the world by their writing. We do not all have equal skills. Some teachers can get across basics, others can get across details that others can't. And then there are opportunities. You write for a small press, and you reach a small audience, a big press and you get a big audience.

Ultimately, if you add everything up, you have potential, and essentially what this is saying is don't squander your potential. However, again, this is in context, but in a broad context. It doesn't necessarily mean that every tool will lead someone to an altar call. In fact, back to the Good Samaratan, he did what he should have done, and we should all realize that.

If you apply the broader brush, instead of this idea that everything you do and say is a walking Billboard, think of it like the movie, "It's a Wonderful Life." Being spiritual doesn't mean witnessing to everyone. I'm not saying there aren't times and places to speak your views. But more of life is about just taking advantages of opportunities to do good, simply because its the right thing to do. Like visiting people, encouraging people. And it can't be conditional. If we love conditionally, and with these expectations, how are we being like God who gives rain and sunshine to all?

Honestly, at the end of the chapter (Matthew 25), things are explained a little more clearly. Love visits the sick, feeds the hungry, clothes the homeless, befriends the lonely. It may not seem super spiritual, but it doesn't get much more spiritual than that.

Whether a chef, playright, grabage collector, teacher, administrator, we can all do these things.

Betty W01
01-13-2006, 11:31 PM
One of the most wonderful things about the Word of God as represented in the Bible is that we can read it for the rest of our lives and never stop learning new things from it. And God speaks to each of us where we are through it while He uses it to take us to where He wants us to be.

That said, I agree that the story of the servants being given talents has several layers that you can learn something from, depending on what you need to learn.

As for telling stories, that was a main method of our Lord's for teaching God's ways. He told a story using familiar objects and people, and through it listeners found out what God had to say about a subject. I believe this is still a valuable method. Often, people who absolutely will not listen to a straight lesson will learn something from a story that contains the same information, disguised as fiction.

Mistook
01-27-2006, 08:44 AM
Is it too late to post a reply here?

Ivanova,

I was "converted" by Vincent VanGogh. I loved his paintings first, and through them I came to love the artist. It was only later on, that I learned by reading a biography, he was a Christian. There is nothing "overtly" Christian about his paintings.

My love for VanGogh, then extended to Jesus, and I took Christ seriously for the first time.

This has EVERYTHING to do with the "Talents" parable, because VanGogh, in his own lifetime went completely unrecognized, and unrewarded for his efforts as a painter. Now, he could have abandoned the "silly" persuit of painting and become just an ordinary, forgettable person. He might have even saved a soul or two along the way in that short lifetime.

But instead, he put his artistic talents "in the bank" or... he brought them into physical being and left them for the ages. He's saved many more souls post mortem, through his works, than he ever could have done alive. He did the absolute right thing with his life, even though the people around him saw his efforts as pointless, and his life as wasted.

There is an old Hymn that says, 'They will know we are Christians by our love', and it was certainly true of VanGogh. If you have love... then your works will convey that love to everybody. And that is all you need to worry about.

silentpoet
01-27-2006, 08:40 PM
Good post, We may not know the good we do. Especially as writers, who knows what treasures we are putting to paper that future generations might find useful and even life saving.

Pat~
01-27-2006, 08:59 PM
This has EVERYTHING to do with the "Talents" parable, because VanGogh, in his own lifetime went completely unrecognized, and unrewarded for his efforts as a painter. Now, he could have abandoned the "silly" persuit of painting and become just an ordinary, forgettable person. He might have even saved a soul or two along the way in that short lifetime.

But instead, he put his artistic talents "in the bank" or... he brought them into physical being and left them for the ages. He's saved many more souls post mortem, through his works, than he ever could have done alive. He did the absolute right thing with his life, even though the people around him saw his efforts as pointless, and his life as wasted.


There's a wonderful, older Christian classic called "The Sacrament of the Present Moment" by Jean-Pierre de Caussade that talks about this. Basically it says that each moment in life can be a sacramental offering to God, if we are doing His will for that moment--whether work, play, worship, or whatever it is that He has called us to do for that moment. The fact that we're doing His will is what makes it eternally significant and fruitful. And to be in that moment, doing His will, is His highest calling.

kdnxdr
01-27-2006, 09:49 PM
This thread is such a blessing to read! Praise God!

I heard a teaching once that focused on the fact that if you have a body of water that only has an inlet, eventually that body of water will begin to stagnate and die. For the body of water to stay fresh and alive, it has to have an outlet, as well as an inlet.

I see humans as receptacles of God's love. For that love to stay fresh and alive and to in fact be love, is must be given away. Love by it's very nature must be given away, not hoarded.

So, if you give the talents in the story to be XLove then the increase of the talents is how much XLove did you invest in others than your own self. And, the hoarder in the parable, did just that, he held on to and kept the love only to end up saying he had love, but because authentic love is love that is given to someone else, he in fact had negated the value of the love that he had been given. And this is what he was judged for.

The scriptures say "God is Love" and that ".Christians are known by their love". If this is true, then christians who operate without love are deceitfuland disobedient. If you love God, you obey Him.
The two greatest commands that, in fact, supercede the 10 are summed up in : Love the Lord thy God with all thy Heart, Mind, Strength, and Spirt. (hopefully, I didn't misquote, didn't look it up to make sure) and to Love thy neighbor as you love yourself. That sums up the law, that's what it's all about. So, whatever we do, the check is, "is what I'm doing an expressiion of love to God? and Is what I'm doing, an expression of love to my neighbor?

Then, the whole question for humans becomes, what does authentic love look like? how does it operate? Can I genuinely work in a authentic love dynamic?

For me, I have to say with the scripture : IF you see, IF, IF, IF, you see any good in me, you, in fact, see Him. The truth is, humanly, I am not capable of operating in genuine love because I will always have an alterior motive, something that swings back around to me, me, me, me and how anything benefits me, me, me. That's human nature, and God fully understands our human nature. The scripture says that the flesh and the spirit, in fact, war, continually, against each other, in us. And so, it's by taking up our cross daily, realizing that we need to appropriate the work of Christ daily in our lives, crucifying the flesh daily, allows us to be yielded vessels of love, that is beyond our own ability, to flow freely into this world. We are to be conduits, manifestations of Him. When we realize that we serve Him by living our lives to the fullest, using our abilities as expressions of love, we are set free to be ourselves to the fullest as the unique human beings that we are!!!

Praise be The Lord Our God!!

wahooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Chacounne
01-28-2006, 04:33 AM
There's a wonderful, older Christian classic called "The Sacrament of the Present Moment" by Jean-Pierre de Caussade that talks about this. Basically it says that each moment in life can be a sacramental offering to God, if we are doing His will for that moment--whether work, play, worship, or whatever it is that He has called us to do for that moment. The fact that we're doing His will is what makes it eternally significant and fruitful. And to be in that moment, doing His will, is His highest calling.

So, so true :)

That's why my most frequent prayer is : "Father, I am your willing servant; where you lead me I will follow." My largest fear is that I will miss His whisper, although I know He will speak louder if I don't hear it :)

God Bless,
Heather