Talent & Greatness

In a recent blog titled, The One Talent, author Jim Melvin wrote that “each and every one of us is born with one talent that supercedes all of our other talents.”

I have been contemplating this in terms of my own life. Usually I feel as if I have several mediocre talents, but no reigning talent. I have often (and rather unaffectionately) referred to myself as a “Jack of all trades, Master of none.” How depressing!

I find it infuriating, to be honest. I tend to agree with the idea that each of us possess many gifts and talents, but one that is more natural (and thus, usually more successful and enjoyable) than the rest. Still, all those mediocre talents that I would never presume to be brilliant with, compel me to chase after them.

So I am curious about a couple of things.

First, do you agree with Jim?

Second, do you  know what your “one talent” is? If so, what?

Third, do you know what my “one talent” is? If so, please share!

Fourth, how does one balance the “one talent” with the “many others?”

Thoughts…questions…talents…share it all, folks. I want to hear from you. Triple Magic SemBlog Points on this post only.

Pax Domini.


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23 Responses to Talent & Greatness

  1. Ray says:

    Hiya Sarahmoo, I dont totally agree with Jim according to the parable of the talents- one was given 10, another 5, and the last was given 1.
    At the same time, I agree that we each have one defining trait that outshines the rest.
    *MY* talent is social-ism. I can step into a crowd of strangers, and usually have them loving me within 5 minutes. This allows anything from joke telling, testimony/witnessing/evangelism, OR just listening.
    My branch-off talent from this is that if I have nothing in common with the individual/group, I usually know someone who does- and can get the two together.
    *YOUR* talent, in my opinion, is communication (see http://www.semmie.wordpress.com ). You express your thoughts quite well, and encourage participation IN communication. I think, from listening to you, that Crafts/crafting might be your secondary.
    Balance is achieved, I believe, in recognizing the level of our talents without becoming prideful in any of them. I dunno, that sounds kinda vague, but, its all I got.

    • semmie says:

      I’m not sure I’m comfortable bringing the Parable of the Talents into this, but…Parable noted.

      I definitely agree with *your* talent. But I suspect you were trying to bait me by referring to it as “social-ism.” Hehehe. Funny boy. I very much see that trait INU, though, and it truly does seem to open a lot of doors for you to meet a person right where she is. I like that about you.

      As for *my* talent…I appreciate your words! You have no idea. I’ve been trying to make more sense of it, because whenever I confess that I love writing, the music part of my heart cries, “No! Love ME!” And whenever I confess that I love music, the writing part of my heart cries, “NO!!!! Love ME!!!” They are extremely jealous twins, or something. But I think the commonality is “creating,” or–as you said–crafting. I’m not sure.

      Thanks for your answers, Ray!

  2. Not having read his book, I’m unclear on how many levels he addressed, but that’s how I see things… like an onion… layer upon layer of complexity, etc.

    He may have been addressing the BIG “One Tallent” of your life… more than writing, singing, playing the piano… but that one great talent that drives your whole experience, your own personal brand of human interaction. This is at least where I see the “one talent” level of existence. All the others are vehicles to deliver that “one talent” into the universe… and these can be mighty or lesser talents unto themselves.

    I think I know now what my one talent is, although I also have searched through the leaves of “writer, singer, etc. for many a year looking for it, and didn’t find it exactly in any of them. And maybe there is a difference between a talent and a gift. My one talent or gift is loving discernment. I can see through many transparent layers to get to the “truth” of an issue. No doubt this talent caused me to dive into the field of psychology. My observation is sensitive to pick up a half eye-blink, the smallest nuance or absence thereof, and know the truth behind it. I swim into the minds of children fussing in shopping carts because they are bored and tired and my gift is a light shined on their faces, as they are spoken to, listened to, validated, smiled at. I use this one talent every day, at work, with neighbors and friends.

    In you, I’ve observed your open commitment to understanding and loving others. You’re a searcher of individual experiences, other’s personal truths, as well as your own to weave into the tapestry of wholeness understanding. You reach into hearts and minds with a sweet curiosity. And your piano key insignia, a symbol of your love for the language of music and your talent for it. Your “one talent” (of wholeness understanding, or whatever you choose to call it) is infused into each piano key, each listener’s ear, each word spoken, each note sung, each word written. I don’t see it so much as a balancing… but as a weaving.

    What a fascinating topic!

    • semmie says:

      Hey Queen Veev! What a delight to see you here at my blog. My heart is made glad! 🙂

      I definitely see in you that passion for discerning–and it seems rooted deep within you. I love that about you. I love conversing with you for this reason, that I will ask a vague and poorly worded question, and you somehow decipher what is at the heart of my question.

      Now *that* is profound.

      Thanks, Veev! I hope you’ll visit my blog again. 🙂

  3. OK, I read his blog… beautiful poem. I think we can have multiple talents at once!

  4. Jayce says:

    1. No.
    2. Nope.
    3. Nope!
    4. I don’t think it’s a balancing act, assuming Jim is right.

    • semmie says:

      I love you, Jayce…but you’re gonna have to do better than this if you really want those points…(truthfully, I love you enough that I’ll probably give you the points anyway… 😛 )

      Why do you disagree?

      • Jayce says:

        Because in a broken world, there is no requirement that every person has a talent.

        We like to read this into people because how else do we describe them? Who they are, what they do, what they like, who they know. Talent is just how we talk about people. So we assume it.

        But there are those who are talentless. And there are those who have many talents. And it is that God uses both which is humbling to the talented empowering to the talentless.

        The talent is the way we tell a story – we want to describe people somehow, some way. And there truly are people who do not have one outstanding talent. They may be deluded in thinking that they do, either by peers or their own way of thinking. Overoptimism, maybe?

        Talents become meaningless in light of the body, where every weakness is overcome through the binding of Christ to each other. There, the weak, helpless, unlovable, incapable, debilitated, dying, sick, twisted, rundown, frail, fragile, mindless, lifeless, meaningless are given hope not because they have or find a talent, but because Christ becomes their talent. Resurrection is their hope. The body overcomes everything.

        It is not inherent. It is Christ.

      • semmie says:

        Jayce, I appreciate your thoughts on this matter. And while I agree with where I think you’re *trying* to go here, I don’t agree with how you’re getting there.

        First, is there a requirement that every person have talent of some kind? I am inclined to say yes–not because we are worthy of such gifts, but because we are created in the image of a talented God who called his creation “good.” Now, that doesn’t negate the effects of a fallen world, surely; but I suspect that there are remnants of goodness in most (probably all) of us.

        Second, as for the idea that talents are simply how we talk about people…uhm…okay. So words are words. And?

        Third, I have never met a person who has NO talent for anything at all. Would you care to offer an example?

        Fourth, I cannot agree with you that “talents become meaningless in light of the body.” This is not true of our physical bodies, so why should we assume it true of a spiritual body? The talent of the heart for pumping blood is not rendered meaningless in light of the body; no, it is all the more important that the heart be healthy and capable of pumping blood *because* of the body.

        Finally, and most unhappily, I am surprised to find that you think there are people who are “unlovable” and “meaningless.” That is depressing, indeed!

      • Jayce says:

        1. You first said we’re not worthy of these gifts, but then you just went around and said that we’re worthy of these gifts because we’re created as good by God. Which is it?
        2. They’re just words people use. It doesn’t mean they’re actually talented. I mean, the author thinks he’s talented because he makes a business about being a fiction author. But his perception has absolutely no correlation with whether he’s actually talented or not. Words are words. Exactly. No bearing on reality. Platitude. An empty encouragement akin to “You can be anything you want to be if you put your mind to it” which is the hogwash of the American Civil Religion.
        3. A dead person.
        4. Meaningless was too strong a word to use – I accept the correction.
        5. It’s not depressing. It’s the reason Jesus came.

  5. Ben says:

    This has been on my mind all day yesterday and kept on floating to the top today. I feel exactly how you do, having many talents but not exactly one extraordinary talent. At work I am considered the Jack of all trades but I always want to be that person that does the one thing well.
    Sometimes I think that you end up being a great servant to the ones with one talent because you make up for all the talents they don’t have haha. They say you are valuable but make about twice as much as you with their one talent. Not to sound depressing but I lay in bed sometimes just asking, “is this really my lot in life?”
    If you were to have the one talent, you are definitely one of the irons in my life that sharpens me. You never hold back and while that can be annoying at times (usually because you’re right) it is good to know there is a handful of people that will be real with you no matter what the circumstances are AND still give you some benefit of the doubt.
    Anyway, there are some thoughts.

    • semmie says:

      Ben, I would say that I very often do “hold back.” Also, I feel entirely different about you than I feel about many other people; I don’t worry about offending you, to be honest. Not that I don’t worry about hurting you, because I do–I know that there are parts of you that are very fragile; but I see you as a fairly resilient person who’s convictions won’t be easily shaken by a simple disagreement or challenge. And…truth be told…I cherish the relationships I have where I can challenge someone and be challenged, even debate feverishly, without dismissing one another as heathens or heretics. I’m not sure that I articulate well on this matter, but…you should take this as a compliment.

      As for your talents, I doubt it is truly the case that you are a jack/master. I’m not sure that I know what your one talent is (or even whether I agree with the idea that we all have “one talent”). But I know that you have enormous dreams, and enormous dreams do not correspond to mediocre talents. I suspect that your talents are more like puzzle pieces that fit together for the purpose of achieving an enormous dream.

      Think about it.

      Pax Christi.

      • Ben says:

        “But I know that you have enormous dreams, and enormous dreams do not correspond to mediocre talents. I suspect that your talents are more like puzzle pieces that fit together for the purpose of achieving an enormous dream.”

        Excellent thought from you, I put it on my Facebook quote page, very encouraging.

      • semmie says:

        Good. Enjoy it!

  6. semmie says:


    1. I didn’t say we’re worthy of gifts because we’re created as good by God. I said that I suspect that being recipients of such gifts (talents, inclinations, strengths, etc) is probably a simple condition of being created beings. You can receive a gift without being “worthy” of anything.

    2. Stephen King (whether you “like” his work or not) can safely be referred to as a “talented” writer. It is not just words. He has a career because he is gifted in writing. You cannot honestly mean to say that Stephen King is not a talented writer. I can agree that words CAN be empty platitudes, but it doesn’t logically follow that ALL words are such. If they were, you would not have sent me that book. 😉 P.S. Thank you…I am finishing up a few odd-ends so I can focus on it without other reading distractions.

    3. Spiritually or physically? Of course a physically dead man would not be talented; but that says nothing about whether a living man might have inherent talents. If you are referring to the spiritual man, then…I’m gonna drop the conversation right here. Scripture does not teach us that unsaved individuals are talentless.

    5. Is there someone that Christ cannot love? This person would be “unlovable.” That is depressing. If there is a hope of Christ’s love, then someone cannot be “unlovable.”

    Anyway, I am no closer to understanding your perspective. If you’d like to share more, I’d love to hear it…but I won’t pressure you. I know it’s hard to separate theology from world view, and we probably shouldn’t anyway; but I really don’t want to get too heavy on the matter. It seems obvious to me that we all have certain inclinations and gifts, and I’m trying to understand why you think otherwise–that’s all. 🙂

    Thanks for your patience, Jayce. 🙂 Pax Domini!

  7. michellemu says:

    Hi Semmie.

    First, I do not agree with Jim

    Second, I don’t have a talent. I have some things that comes easily to me, I have some personality quirks, but no talent. I used to joke in paltalk about this. And joke I did, because it doesn’t bother me in the least that I have no talent.

    Third, I wouldn’t presume to know you well enough to even guess.

    Fourth, ah…see? When I gave up the idea that I needed one special thing that made people (and God) love me, balance became easy.

    • semmie says:

      Hi Michelle. 🙂 It’s always nice to see you!

      I just want to clarify (in reference to your fourth answer) that I don’t think having a talent is what makes us lovable. I’m not talking about balance as in “maintaining lovability.” Rather, I was questioning the balance between one super talent and many lesser talents (if one “super talent” exists)–for instance, a brilliant mathematician who also loves and is gifted at composing music. Would such a man dismiss composing music because he wasn’t as excelled in it as mathematics?

      Pax Domini!

      • michellemu says:

        Well, semmie, that’s what is nice for me: I just do what I feel like doing. Tell me what it’s like for the mathematician. Is he disappointed because he has no time for his music?

      • semmie says:

        Well, Michelle, I cannot speak for the mathematician (heh…trust me…I really can’t!), but I can speak for myself. I don’t particularly think I am great at any one thing; but I do feel like I have some skill with music and with writing both. And for me, it is a balance. When I become so focused on one that I neglect the other, it greatly affects my spiritual, emotional, and social self. They are both part of who I am.

  8. Steve Ward says:

    I used to have a talent or two, but that was quite a while ago. The only thing I have now is, perhaps, the potential to have some sort of talent. Even with that, I lack the energy, initiative, and time to develop talent again.

    Maybe some day I might be able to develop some sort of talent. But, for now, it takes even a great deal of effort just to maintain what I might still have left stored in “potential”.

    Oh, well….

    • semmie says:

      Interesting notion: how potential grows into talent.

      Nonetheless, Steve, when I think of you, I think of a very talented individual. You are a writer, a musician, an artist, and many other things, I’m sure! Maybe you could be better (couldn’t we all?), but not producing anything at present doesn’t negate the gift itself.

      Again, I’ll refer to the grapes. Is a grape vine still a grape vine if it yields no fruit one season? It is. It may need some TLC if you want it to produce in the next season, but it does not cease to be a grape vine.

      I love you, Steve!

      Pax Domini.

      • Steve Ward says:

        Sarah, thank you for your words of encouragement and caring. I don’t seem to get that very much anymore. Maybe it’s just some phase that I’m going through, and it might change later. I appreciate your prayers greatly, and, as always, I’m praying for you.


  9. Pingback: Talent & Greatness, part II « barefooted

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