A Lesson on Talents
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“A Lesson on Talents,” New Era, June 2005, 48

A Lesson on Talents

“Hey, Jean,” Mark called from across the school parking lot. “Do you know if you’re going to California yet?”

“Nope,” I said and let out a sigh. “My parents still don’t want me to go.”

“They don’t want you to go?” he repeated, astonished. “But this is the biggest cross-country race of the year for us. Why don’t they want you to go?”

The problem was that my parents have a big reunion every couple years with their cousins. It is one of their favorite things, and they had been planning it for a long time. It happened to be on the same weekend as the race. They wanted me to stay home and babysit my brothers and sisters while they were gone for the weekend. I was stuck.

I brought the subject up again with my mother. “There are millions of people in the world. Why can’t you find somebody else to babysit?”

“Jean, we’ve been through this,” my mom said. “There is nobody I trust as much as you to stay with them. And hiring somebody to stay with the kids is expensive. It just works out so much better to have you here.”

“But you don’t understand,” I protested. “You’re squelching my talents. Besides, our Church leaders always say you’re supposed to develop your talents.”

I let that last comment sink in and started waiting for my victory. Instead of just agreeing with me, she drew a long, deep breath. “Okay, Jean, if you really think it’s that important, I’m going to let you make your own decision. But you have to promise me that you’ll think about it and pray about it for a few days before you decide.”

“I can do that,” I assured her.

“How hard can this decision be?” I thought to myself. “To go to California or not? This really should be a no-brainer.” I knew Heavenly Father wanted me to build my talents, so I just had to wait for the right time to break the news to my parents. I determined that Sunday was going to be decision day.

On Sunday, when I got to Young Women, I was happy to see the word talents written on the board as the subject of the lesson.

“This is it,” I thought. “California, here I come!”

Each time Sister Nelson said we needed to “build up our talents” and “let our light shine,” I packed another item in my mental suitcase. I was just about to say a silent thank-you to Heavenly Father for such a great answer when Sister Nelson stopped talking and got very serious.

“Now it’s very important for you to remember,” she said, her eyes filled with concern, “that you should never seek to build up your talents at the expense of others, especially your family members.”

That wasn’t the answer I was expecting, but it took only a moment before I knew it was the answer I was looking for. Silently, I said a small prayer of gratitude and then quickly unpacked my mental suitcase.

Illustrated by Keith Larson