Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Parable of the Talents

We all have pieces of artwork that have made an impact on us personally. One such work was on display at the International Lettering Arts Conference "Celebrations" held at Ohio Weslyan University in 2003. 

Nancy Culmone's "Parable of the Talents"* fairly shined through it's glass display case. I don't know what attracted me initially, and I didn't even get to look through the book itself... just a couple of pages that were displayed. I guess I didn't really need to see the whole thing because I could feel the whole thing already.

Nancy Culmone "The Parable of the Talents" ca.1990 #3 of 3

What made the impression on me was the correlation of the word "talent". That word for a biblical unit of money had never impressed me before as something personal like it did that day. Yet there it was, staring me right in the face. (For those of you who are unfamiliar with this parable, I have included this text at the end of this page).

Though I had read and heard correlations on this passage, nothing had ever hit me so emotionally regarding my own "talent" and responsibility before... perhaps because I was finally practicing my true gift. I began to consider what I was doing with my artwork, why I was doing it, and what goals I might have in my explorations of my mediums. I made some serious personal observations, and this little encounter helped me to clarify a base philosophy of how I would attempt to "use" my talent, and that philosophy further helps me to decide on taking or turning down a commissioned painting.

Driving around today this concept of "not burying your talent" came back to me. I began to think of the many artists, actors, business people and just plain old joes like me who have taken parts of themselves and put their talent into action for a positive goal. They have used their talent for a purpose.

Randall M. Hasson - Journals
In addition to the many "famous" people who have traveled to Hurricane Katrina ravaged areas, or to Africa for various causes, I think of many of our own community who simply are involved. Mel Albhorn's Portraits for Peace series honors and remembers our soldiers... heroes. Based in New Mexico, Rick Iannuci and Nancy De Santis have an organization called "Horses for Heroes" that helps war vets re-orient to a non war society. Alice Hancock has an organization called "Greentherapie" with a motto of "Live Right" that counsels on healthy lifestyles for education and prevention of cancer. In a more committed fashion, a friend from High School, Jeff Seed, took off and went to Africa and has been serving there for over 20 years... first for CARE and currently for DKT International. He is making a difference.

These are just "tip of the iceberg" examples of people making a difference... people using their time and talent for a positive purpose... people who are making a difference in someone else's life.

Randall M. Hasson - Journals

So the question becomes one for self evaluation... it certainly doesn't have to be some big thing, some huge move. I think of my wife Valerie who found out that she was a GREAT manager and actually has made a tangible difference in peoples lives with her counsel, advice and example. Friend Don Miller who is a big-time band leader also makes a difference in his son and other kids lives by being a scout leader.  

Jennifer Hamady is a vocal coach who reveals methods for people to allow their gift to come forth through singing by understanding who they are and overcoming barriers they have set for themselves. And of course your always remember your teachers and coaches... High School classmate Doreen Barbee is making a difference to art students somewhere deep in the heart of Texas, influenced by our great High School art teacher, Mr. Jenkins.

What do you do... What are your true talents... your passions? What do you know that is your gifting? Encouraging people? Organization? Making a statement with artwork or acting or speaking or singing? Helping someone without resources to fix their house? Teaching? Where are you using your true gifts and talents? Giving usually gives the "giver" as much as the receiver. Using your talent makes giving your gifts effortless... or maybe at least less taxing! Are you using it? What are you waiting for?

A man who commissioned a painting said to me during an interview:
 "if you are doing your true passion, you'll work seven days a week and wish for an 8th".

I don't think he is too far off. 

*Note: Nancy Culmone does not have a website, however information about Nancy and her above referenced book can be found hereExamples of her books are in the libraries of Harvard, Duke University, Universities of Michigan and Utah, Wellesley College, as well as in private collections.

The Parable of the Talents

Matthew 25:14-30 (NIV)

 14"Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15To one he gave five talents[a] of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money. 19"After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.'
 21"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
 22"The man with the two talents also came. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.'
 23"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
 24"Then the man who had received the one talent came. 'Master,' he said, 'I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.'
 26"His master replied, 'You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
 28" 'Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29For 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...


  1. Deja Vu? This is EXACTLY what my coach and I were talking about today...that, and defining my passion, then living it. Thanks for the great message, Randy!

  2. Randy, your insights are wonderful. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. Wow! Randall, I was going along just fine and now I am faced with a challenge--guess I will have to get on the ball! Beautiful post--thanks for giving me "pause to ponder" for the next few hours, days, weeks.

  4. Absolutely inspirational and thought provoking. You are using your many talents wisely :) thank you Jo Latino