I am 50 years old, and I just became aware of widespread usage of "Time, Talents, and Treasure" in religious circles, maybe especially Catholicism. My own religion, Mormonism, has a temple covenant about consecrating time, talents, and "everything with which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you" to the LDS church. And I was not aware until recently that it might be a conscious deviation from an old triplet.

Does anybody know from where the pithier version originates? My completely uniformed guess would be that it might have originated in some sort of Catholic catechism or papal pronouncement.

  • 1
    If you think it has to do with Catholicism you might (also) want to ask on the Christianity SE. – JJJ May 6 '18 at 0:36

The earliest example I have been able to find is this one from 1845 (although it also includes "physical strength"):

Time, talent, treasure and physical strength, which, if applied to the promotion of social improvement, the advancement of science and the furtherance of education, would convert in a very short period the whole earth into a paradise...

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Maine Cultivator and Hallowell Gazette (Hallowell, Maine) • 07-05-1845 • Page 1

I also found some other examples that were very close in date to this one. Here's a quote from 1848 from an article about a Presbyterian missionary:

Is this alone not a sufficient reward for all the expenditure of time, talent, treasure and life by the friends of colonization?

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Spectator (New York, New York) • 07-17-1848 • Page 1

I actually did find an example that doesn't list a fourth thing, in a newspaper from 1852:

Time, talent and treasure have been devoted...

Norfolk Democrat, published as The Norfolk Democrat (Dedham, Massachusetts) • 07-30-1852 • Page 1

A newspaper from 1853 article entitled Rebuilding of St. Thomas' Church gives an example from England:

...instead of expending their time, taste, talent, and treasure upon this good work...

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Isle of Wight Observer (Ryde, England), Saturday, June 11, 1853; Issue 41.

  • I suppose I can tentatively accept this. I really like the answer. Interestingly, these citations are from the same period as the invention of the LDS temple ceremony. – Tom Haws May 8 '18 at 4:39

The expression Time, Talent and Treasure possibly derives from the Good Samaritan parable:

The Parable of the Good Samaritan. He gave his time to help the man, he used his talents to tend to the man's wounds and he gave his money (treasure) to pay for the man's lodging.


  • Unfortunately, this does not answer the question because the phrase Time, Talents, and Treasure does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Somebody at Etymology Stack Exchange found some interesting info. english.stackexchange.com/questions/444874/… – Tom Haws May 8 '18 at 4:40

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