My patriarchal blessing says that I have spiritual talents. What is a spiritual talent and how does it differ from a physical talent?
Thank you for asking such an interesting question. I’m going to rephrase it a little to frame up my response:
1. What is the difference between a spiritual talent vs a physical talent?
2. What is the difference between a spiritual talent vs a spiritual gift?
I phrased the second question because many are familiar with the term “spiritual gifts” as outlined in several passages of scripture (1 Corinthians 12; Moroni 10; D&C 46). But we do not commonly hear the term “spiritual talent.” So, I’ll go into that just a bit.
Your question is largely a semantic one, so my response will mostly touch on this aspect. Let’s take a look at the definitions of a few words.
Spiritual: Pertaining to divine or sacred things
Talent: Faculty; natural gift or endowment; eminent abilities; superior genius;
Gift: Power, faculty, quality, or endowment conferred by the author of our nature; as the gift of wit;
An offering or oblation.
From these definitions we realize that talents and gifts are synonymous in the context of your question. It is interesting to note that there is an etymological link between both these words and the concept of “power or ability”. Thus, to have a spiritual talent means to be blessed with a divine power or ability. We developed many of them in our pre-Earth life.
We Developed Personalities and Talents While We Lived in Heaven.
We possessed different talents and abilities, and we were called to do different things on earth. We can learn more about our “eternal possibilities” when we receive our patriarchal blessings
— Gospel Principles, Ch 2.
Now look at the last definition of gift: An offering or oblation. This tells me that the gift is really a two way street. Our Heavenly Father gives us various spiritual gifts or talents not for our benefit, but for us to use them to further the work of the Lord. As we do so we are giving an offering unto the Lord and using our talents to do so.
This opens the door to recognizing that spiritual talents are not only those talents that are born of our spirit or granted to us via spiritual means. If we inherit the gift of music from our earthly parents, that may have been related to the physical; but can we not use that gift for a spiritual purpose to inspire those who hear a hymn? Then such gifts which are normally considered physical are being used spiritually.
In the context of your patriarchal blessing, I’d assume that your spiritual gifts were specifically those that the Lord gave you via spiritual rather than physical means. I’m not sure if that even matters at this point. And that is certainly something that is personal to you. So, if it is important for you to know, you need to pray about it to find out which talents are spiritual and which are physical.
Finally, it is important to seek after the best gifts. We can develop more than what we’re born with. So, consider the following:
- What talents do you currently have?
- What talents can you develop?
- What talents do you seek from the Lord?
And the most important question is: How are you going to use those talents to further the work of the Lord? In the end, knowing our talents (whether physical or spiritual) or developing our talents is not nearly as important as what we do with them. And you’ll find that as you use your talents for the work of the Lord, He will multiply your talents.