A man traveling into a far country gave each servant a different number of talents, based on his knowledge of their individual abilities. In New Testament times a talent was a sum of money. Elder McConkie gave application: “Men are not born equal. Each person in this life is endowed with those talents and capacities which his pre-earth life entitle him to receive.” — Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1:688
Jesus did not place emphasis on the number of talents given, but rather on what the recipient did with the talents bestowed. Elder Howard W. Hunter applied this parable as follows: “As servants of the Lord, we should use every opportunity to employ our talents in his service. To fail to do so means to lose them. If we do not increase, we decrease. Our quest is to seek out the talents the Lord has given us and to develop and multiply them, whether they be five, two, or one. We need not attempt to imitate the talents given to other persons.” — The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, p. 70
President Ezra Taft Benson admonished members of the Church to become the best we can in the things that interest and inspire us. He said, “It is our responsibility to strive to find where we can make a contribution to our fellow man – an area where we have some interest and abilities and where we can, at the same time, provide for our own. I am glad Beethoven found his way to music, Rembrandt into art, Michelangelo into sculpturing, and President David O. McKay into teaching. Finding your proper niche and doing well in it can bless you, yours, and your fellow men. . . . Ponder and pray about it; study closely your patriarchal blessing; consider what you do well; take some vocational and interest tests; and get acquainted with various professions to see what is available.” — The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 484-85
All men have been given special powers and within certain limitations should develop those powers, give vent to their own imaginations, and not become rubber stamps. They should develop their own talents and abilities and capacities to their limit and use them to build up the kingdom. — The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 257
Every one of our Father in Heaven’s children is great in His sight. If the Lord sees greatness in you, how then should you see yourself? We have all been blessed with many talents and abilities. Some have been blessed with the talent to sing, some to paint, some to speak, some to dance, some to create beautiful things with their hands, and others to render compassionate service. Some may possess many, others only a few. It matters not the size or the quantity but the effort we put forth to develop the talents and abilities we have received. You are not competing with anyone else. You are only competing with yourself to do the best with whatever you have received. Each talent that is developed will be greatly needed and will give you tremendous fulfillment and satisfaction during your life.
The almost universal gift everyone can develop is the creation of a pleasant disposition, an even temperament. It will open more doors for you and give you more opportunities than any other characteristics I can think of. — Elder L. Tom Perry, “Youth of the Noble Birthright,” Ensign, November 1998 p. 74
The great plan of salvation is a theme which ought to occupy our strict attention, and be regarded as one of heaven’s best gifts to mankind. No consideration whatever ought to deter us from showing ourselves approved in the sight of God, according to His divine requirement. Men not infrequently forget that they are dependent upon heaven for every blessing which they are permitted to enjoy, and that for every opportunity granted them they are to give an account. You know, brethren, that when the master in the Savior’s parable of the stewards called his servants before him he gave them several talents to improve on while he should tarry abroad for a little season, and when he returned he called for an accounting. So it is now. Our Master is absent only for a little season, and at the end of it he will call each to render an account; and where five talents were bestowed, ten will be required; and he that has made no improvement will be cast out as an unprofitable servant, while the faithful will enjoy everlasting honors. Therefore, we earnestly implore the grace of our Father to rest upon you through Jesus Christ his Son that you may not faint in the hour of temptation, nor be overcome in the time of persecution. — Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 67