Sunday, July 10, 2011

Lesson: Developing our talents

Gospel Principles, Chapter 34  
taught by Amanda Hall

Amanda began by talking about gardening. We plant seeds and they grow into tender plants which we must protect, and nourish with sunlight and water. And eventually we enjoy the fruits of the harvest.

How is developing talents like growing a garden? 
There are so many comparisons...we need to choose the right seeds to grow, we need to study and learn, we need to nurture, we need to be patient.
We all have special gifts, talents, and abilities given to us by our Heavenly Father. When we were born, we brought these gifts, talents, and abilities with us.

The prophet Moses was a great leader, but he needed Aaron, his brother, to help as a spokesman (see Exodus 4:14–16). Some of us are leaders like Moses or good speakers like Aaron. Some of us can sing well or play an instrument. Others of us may be good in sports or able to work well with our hands. Other talents we might have are understanding others, patience, cheerfulness, or the ability to teach others.

These gifts come from God. James 17:1 says, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."
[An old poem says, "If I were to write a poem or pen a sonnet, I must go and choose a dish or tie a bonnet." In other words caring for home and family can be seen as talent, or another interpretation might be that there is a time and season for all things.]
Why are these gifts given? In D&C 46:8-11 we find the answers:
 8 Wherefore, beware lest ye are deceived; and that ye may not be deceived seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given;
 9 For verily I say unto you, they are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do; that all may be benefited that seek or that ask of me, that ask and not for a sign that they may consume it upon their lusts.
 10 And again, verily I say unto you, I would that ye should always remember, and always retain in your minds what those gifts are, that are given unto the church.
 11 For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God.
12To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby.
Our gift and talents can also bring us personal satisfaction and joy.

We have a responsibility to develop the talents we have been given. Sometimes we think we do not have many talents or that other people have been blessed with more abilities than we possess. Sometimes we do not use our talents because we are afraid that we might fail or be criticized by others. We should not hide our talents. We should use them. Then others can see our good works and glorify our Heavenly Father (see Matthew 5:16).

There are certain things we must do to develop our talents. We must...
  1. Discover our talents. We should evaluate ourselves to find our strengths and abilities. Our family and friends can help us do this. We should also ask our Heavenly Father to help us learn about our talents.
  2. Be willing to spend the time and effort to develop the talent we are seeking.
  3. Have faith that our Heavenly Father will help us, and we must have faith in ourselves.
  4. Learn the skills necessary for us to develop our talents. We might do this by taking a class, asking a friend to teach us, or reading a book.
  5. Practice using our talent. Every talent takes effort and work to develop. The mastery of a talent must be earned. [It takes 10,000 hours to master be patient!]
  6. Share our talent with others. It is by our using our talents that they grow (see Matthew 25:29).
All of these steps are easier if we pray and seek the Lord’s help. He wants us to develop our talents, and He will help us. As in all things we depend on Jesus Christ and His grace in our lives.
How can we develop our talents in spite of our weaknesses?

Because we are mortal and fallen, we have weaknesses. With the Lord’s help, our weakness and fallen nature can be overcome (see Ether 12:27, 37). Beethoven composed his greatest music after he was deaf. Enoch overcame his slowness of speech to become a powerful teacher (see Moses 6:26–47).
The Lord is pleased when we use our talents wisely. He will bless us if we use our talents to benefit other people and to build up His kingdom here on earth. 
Some of the blessings we gain are joy and love from serving our brothers and sisters here on earth. We also learn self-control. 
All these things are necessary if we are going to be worthy to live with our Heavenly Father again. 
Thanks to the talented Amanda Hall for lesson today. Choose to develop a talent today.
 I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.
~ Picasso

Photo credit: seriousbri

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