I’ve been meaning to write this article for more than ten years. Today is the day. Did you know that the “stage time” philosophy is mentioned in the bible? This is a lesson for all of us — no matter what your faith, religion, or beliefs.
As a practicing (and still learning) Catholic boy, the Parable of the Talents has always been one of my favorites, and it kept me going in my early days of comedy and speaking. If you think about it, it’s about “stage time.”
The Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30)
“Therefore stay alert, because you do not know the day or the hour. 14 For it is like a man going on a journey, who summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The one who had received five talents went off right away and put his money to work 270 and gained five more. 17 In the same way, the one who had two gained two more. 18 But the one who had received one talent went out and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money in it. 19 After a long time, the master of those slaves came and settled his accounts with them. 20 The one who had received the five talents came and brought five more, saying, ‘Sir, you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’ 21 His master answered, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave! You have been faithful in a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 The one with the two talents also came and said, ‘Sir, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more.’ 23 His master answered, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave! You have been faithful with a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 Then the one who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Sir, I knew that you were a hard man, harvesting where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered, ‘Evil and lazy slave! So you knew that I harvest where I didn’t sow and gather where I didn’t scatter? 27 Then you should have deposited my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received my money back with interest! 28 Therefore take the talent from him and give it to the one who has ten. 29 For the one who has will be given more, and he will have more than enough. But the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30 And throw that worthless slave into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'” (Matthew 25:13-30). 271
This is a simple short story from the Bible. In biblical days, “talents” were money. How ironic. What a great analogy… I love it!
Do you see the parallel to “stage time?” The more you work on your ‘talent,’ the more talent you’ll be given. More responsibility “even with an audience” is given to those with more talent. The cool part is we can all invest what we have now. What you have now is more than enough. Do you bury your talents or invest them?
Want to speak in front of an audience of one thousand? Knock ‘em dead at a local service club and more will be given. In my early days of comedy, I had to perform better than those around me at the open mic nights to deserve the right to perform at a professional comedy show.
In the parable above, the third servant who buried his one talent was afraid he would lose it. His intentions to “protect” the talent were actually good, but he still didn’t do what he was meant to do. In my experience, when I haven’t performed stand-up comedy in a long time, I get ‘rusty.’ Though similar, comedy is still a very different talent from speaking — and it requires a different kind of nurturing.
When you bury your talent, you’re not protecting it. You’re allowing it to atrophy. One of my pet peeves is when people take their experiences for granted, and never speak about them. I see financial planners who have never done a speech at Toastmasters about money… real estate agents who never teach us from the platform how to buy or sell a house! I understand that some may do this because of their fear of being ‘perceived’ as selling. In my opinion, that is burying your talent.
That’s their expertise! That’s where your speaking can do the most good!
The third servant also complained about his master, though he was still entrusted by him. Have you complained about the “small opportunity” you were given? Guilty! I have!
I was an altar boy back in Auburn, MA while growing up. I’ve always enjoyed this parable, though it was somewhat confusing when I was young. Ever since I began stand-up comedy and speaking, I’ve always felt that it was written about “stage time.” No matter what your faith — or lack of — I hope you still see how the story may apply to you.
I feel so fortunate that I never gave up when I felt I wasn’t making progress in my skill and business of speaking. I now feel like I was the servant who was only given one talent — but I appreciated it enough and kept reinvesting what little talent I had to constantly gain more responsibility. I believe I acted like the servant who was entrusted with three talents.
I sincerely hope my thoughts and programs serve you.
What have you been doing with your talents? What will you do with them now?
Have I lost my mind? Are you glad I wrote this article? Were you offended? The truth is good enough. I read all comments on my blog. Let me know your thoughts! Please share them here on my blog…
2001 World Champion of Public Speaking
P.S. God Bless you this Easter. Thanks for being part of my newsletter. Thanks for trusting me with your most valuable asset… your time. Give thanks for all you have each day.
P.P.S. Special only ’til April 30th. Lady & the Champs — by far, the best ever — go now and get the downloads of the entire event instantly. Click here!
Another Success Story
Here’s a speaker who has followed my direction. When teaching a boot camp in Sydney, Kathleen pulled me aside and shared her story. I encouraged her to help others who had the same personal challenge, and here’s her first speech on the topic. Click here to watch. Help me, help her. Please share your feedback & words of encouragement below Kathleen’s video on her YouTube channel. Thanks!
From one Catholic boy to another – Well said Darren. Thanks for putting our faith out there. Here is an example of using biblical stories as direction in modern times. It’s still true and still works.
What I love about you is your apparent ability to “Follow your Promptings”. Even when there may be imprinted ideas in your mind telling you otherwise, you dare to step out and go where you haven’t gone before. I am certain that the result is nearly always good. (I did hedge that just a bit!) So I am glad that you have your talent and get plenty of talents in return!
I Double Dog Darren you!
What you said here is absolutely true. The more stage time you spend the more capable you become and the higher you rise. I experienced this in my journey in public speaking and in conducting workshops and seminars. Not only more stage time polishes you skills but it also makes things in your brain and soul go from being somehow clear to being crystal clear. Then you really become a master of what you do.
I’m always intrigued on how religious holidays morph into secular traditions.
How do we go from the resurrection of Our Lord to hiding easter eggs?
I’m no biblical scholar or anything like it but,
I do remember when the women go to the tomb and find the body missing.
I remember them going back to the Apostles and saying someone has taken the body and we don’t know where to find him
I don’t remember any of the apostles saying “has anyone looked under the couch?”
Have a great weekend.
I am glad that you wrote this article. I always applied this parable to work and serving God, but never to toastmaster’s. However, one must remember that “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might….”(Ecclesiastes 9:10). Thanks again for the reminder.
Great parable and wonderful analogy! I believe that the essence of our lives needs to focus on developing our talents and then contributing them for the betterment of others. In this parable the slaves that multiplied the talents given to them benefited the owner and also benefited themselves as they were given more important responsibilities.
Thank you for your article and insite because for me it came at a time I could actually use the advise!
Your message was just what I needed this morning, Darren! Many thanks, and I wish you a blessed Easter as well.
Darren, as usual, I really enjoyed your article. I never before made the connection that you so clearly explained between the parable and stage time. I certainly will share this with my friends at H2Orators Toastmasters in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, I must draw a minor detail to your attention. You made reference to your childhood experience as an “alter” boy. To alter is to change. The place of worship is an altar. Like so many of these confusing homonyms spell check is no help.
Thanks for all your great advice. I look forward to reading your articles weekly
I would think no one should be offended… no matter what denomination you are and what holy book your religion uses. Its an excellent reminder and proof that God wants us to develope our talents, not only for ourselves, but for our neighbors around us. We need each others gifts to survive and to thrive as humans.
I do think successful people can put two things unrelated and put them together and teach a lesson. There are lessons everywhere… most of us (me included) do not see them and dont learn from them. So we benefit from your talent there too.
I think when anyone puts their strong opinions out, like on a blog post, and then you get ready to duck or wait for the eggs to hit your house, you stuck your neck out for something that really needs to be said.
This post will change how I look at what I am doing in regards to my skills and talents.
Darren ! you have strung those up so well : you put your “talents” to work in an unusual way.
Yes, I too was confused about the biblical talents in my childhood, till I started investing my talents and saw what they reaped : best results of my students coupled with better behavior at home, reported by their parents…
A Happy and Blessed Easter to you too, Darren. May the Risen Lord bless you with many more talents !
Nothing offensive there at all.
Demonstrates that the ‘message’ of the story is still relevant today even after 2000 years or more; even though we’ve move away from believing in slavery and verbal abuse of employees. 🙂
Thanks. I now know where the expression, “Don’t bury your talents,” comes from.
Very interesting. I am actually speaking at a Christian conference for women in a few weeks time and have been struggling with the layout. The topic is “essence” but I had been feeling God was encouraging me to speak about our vision statement for life being the final “Well done Good and faithful Servant.” And using our talents to that purpose. Thank you for the confirmation. Just sitting here brainstorming with someone and then opened your email…Also was disappointed last week when I flunked out of the International speech contest at Divsion level – feeling like I failed. But will just get back up and continue to refine my talents and use them and get back in to the fray next year. Not going to let fear – of failure, criticism, unknown, stop me. Have a great Easter and live with the end goal in mind – to stand before God and Him saying well done Good and Faithful Servant. Have a great Easter where we celebrate Christ who was the ultimate Good and Faithful Servant to His Father.
This is such a great article. Yesterday I was getting frustrated with not being able to create a great story. only to have God tell me “You haven’t fully followed the process”.
I realized this has always been a problem for me all my life. The hardest thing for some people to do is follow directions and I’m one of them. Not anymore, After that I was committed to simple take my story telling home study course by craig valetine and simple do exactly what it says.
Boy am I glad I did. I took a story of burning my hand and turned it into a message that sticks, as craig would say, well atleast my wife got it!
I invested in what I had- a willingness to do something with what I got- And it paid off with progess.
I can’t wait to fine tune it and improve it and I know all I need is stage time to work out the kinks but, stage time is the key and I’m looking forward to it.
Yes,Stage time is good.I liked the Bible story. What are we doing with our God given talent? Well, now that I’ve realized mine, I will continue to take your advice.Put it out there!
The teachings you share and products you produce about public speaking and humor are an inspiration to me. They have been for many years. Your article about the Talents really hit home. It confirmed how important using our abilities is, no matter how small. Just like muscles they can develop with use. The diligence you used to become a Toastmaster World Champion is something that I carry with me when I work on my presentations. Thank you Darren for not giving up on your Talents.
Darren, my toastmaster clubs have supported my attempts to grow my 3 talents into 6. I am learning and gaining support from my fellows. My parish priests are also supportive of personal growth of all their parishioners including mine. I feel this even from my employer despite their somewhat challenging manner, as they have challenged me to do my job better in the technical area, as well as the customer service areas where they are content.
And thank you for the article , it was great that you shared this parable with your readers.
Very relevant , for all to learn from. For a christian, faith is about thinking outside to square , and I felt as I read your article that you were trying to do this . I am always amazed [being a christian] that. in the speech contests I have been involved with, I always use a tiny little piece relating to my faith, and I am always encouraged afterward by non believers and belivers alike .
I hope you will be too God Bless and thank you Steve
Thanks again for all you do.
This article was good advice for anyone wanting to reach thier potential in any field.
I believe one of the toughest fields to excell at is public speaking. But I also believe
the fun is in the journey.
You are a inspiration to all of us