Two talent teachers
In the parable of the talents, three servants were given money “each according to their ability”. There was a servant who was given one talent but did not make it work for the master. We rarely see such in theological education. There was another who was given five talents and there are such in theological education today; those who have un-usually high ability minds, or exceptional teaching gifts or very special personalities that make possible magnificent ease and usefulness with students. These also are rare.
In the parable, there was also the two talent servant and theological education has always succeeded because it is staffed mostly by these; teachers who are not exceptionally talented but do the job well, are sometimes more useful in more lives than the greatly gifted, and look to receive the “well done” from the master at the end. We are, most of us, in this category. So how do two-talent theological educators get the job done?
- By working hard.
A two talent teacher who works harder than a five talent teacher usually does more for God. There are limits to one’s strength but it is possible to work right up to those limits and do all you can.
- By learning our trade.
Take time to learn to do things well; know how to study carefully and deeply, learn how to teach for real transformation of students, understand the theory and practice of theological education, learn how to work with people.
- By concentrating our force.
I did a lot of maths at school and remember an excellent teacher showing us how (mathematically) Nelson won the battle of Trafalgar against a French fleet larger than his by dividing the French fleet and then concentrating all his force against each half successively. Two talent educators must concentrate their skills and energies, not spread themselves among many commitments, but do well the things they can do well.
- By working in relationship.
Others may have more to give, but the students receive little unless a good bridge is formed for it to travel across. Form the bridges of good relationships so all you have gets to all you teach and all you lead.
- By cultivating a sense of dependence on God.
And here you have the advantage over the five talent teacher. He or she has an endemic problem, a tendency to rely on their great gifts. You know you cannot do that and so need to pray and trust.
Ok, so in the end the five talent servant not the two talent servant gets the extra one talent, but both received the most important gifts, the “well done” and the “joy of their lord”. That should be enough.
 Matthew 25.14-30.