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J.R.R Tolkien's Story about Gifts and Talents

In J.R.R. Tolkien's (The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings) lesser-known short story "Smith of Wootton Major," Tolkien has a profound insight on spiritual gifts and God-given talents. As a young boy, Smith Smithson receives a rare gift at his small village's celebration—piece of cake that contains a silver star. As Smith wears the star on his forehead, it shines with light and it allows him to travel to magical lands and possess special powers and privileges. But one day as he travels home from one of his fantastic journeys, Alf, the Master Cook and baker of the cake starts walking beside Smith. Unbeknownst to Smith, Alf is actually the king of all the land, and the one who chose to give Smith the silver star.

As they near Smith's home, Alf (or the King) says, "Do you not think, Master Smith, that it is time for you to give this thing [the magic silver star] up?"

Smith replies, "What is that to you, Master Cook? And why should I do so? Isn't it mine? It came to me, and may a man not keep things that come to him so, at least as a remembrance?"

The King says, "Some things. Those that are free gifts and given for remembrance. But others are not so given. They cannot belong to a man forever, nor be treasured as heirlooms. They are lent. You have not thought, perhaps, that someone else might need this thing. But it is so. Time is pressing."

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