“Every woman,” said President Thomas S. Monson, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, “has been endowed by God with distinctive characteristics, gifts, and talents in order that she may fulfill a specific mission in the eternal plan.” (Ensign, May 1992, p. 101.)
As in Christ’s parable, when we cultivate the first talents God gives us, he is ready to reveal more. (See Matt. 25:15–21.)
We may look on our daily work merely as chores. However, when we perform these tasks in a spirit of loving service to husband, children, family, and friends, we bring joy to ourselves and others. To cook a tasteful meal, study for a class, cultivate a garden, write a letter, kindly encourage a friend or family member—all these efforts are improving talents.
God then grants an increase by blessing us with new talents. Often these are qualities of character. We learn to understand the needs of those we serve and to show patience, affection, tolerance, and generosity.
Relief Society general president Elaine L. Jack reminisces about her grandmother’s talents. Her grandmother made all the children’s clothes, knit their socks and mittens, milked cows, churned butter and sold it, raised chickens, ducks, and turkeys, was a counselor in the Relief Society, and gathered wheat. “As hard as all that work she did sounds, is any less required of me?” says Sister Jack. “I don’t have to do the same physical things Grandma Low did, but I have to be just as industrious, just as compassionate, just as frugal, just as prepared for the winter as she was. This is my heritage.”
What talents have you enjoyed developing?
Anyone who is willing to accept a call as an auxiliary leader or teacher, who comes prepared to class, who speaks, performs music, or directs an activity is cultivating talents. In responding to callings, we increase our abilities to teach better, to perform better, to involve others.
As the newly called homemaking leader in a ward in Highland Village, Texas, Margo Merrill faced the seemingly impossible task of turning scraps of donated fabric into quilts for charity. She knew she lacked the experience to piece a quilt, but she began with what she could do: she pressed the scraps, then cut and sorted the colors. She then brought packets of fabric to homemaking meeting, where she asked help from other sisters to arrange and sew them into tops, then quilt and bind the coverlets. The sisters gladly shared their talents, and the results pleased them all.
As we develop our talents and as we accept callings, we gain self-confidence and love for new kinds of service. Brigida Acosta de Perez was a counselor in the Relief Society of a small branch in San Felipe, Mexico, where some sisters speak Spanish and others speak the native Nahuatl language. Brigida exercised her ability to speak both languages and translated the weekly lessons. She found she was developing a new gift, that of bridging two cultures and encouraging love among the sisters.
We are each unique—a child of God endowed with individual gifts which God wants us to use in building his kingdom. As we cultivate these talents, we will brighten our daily living and bless others.
What new talents are you developing at this stage of your life?