What’s your gift? And are you using it?
We are all born with natural gifts and talents. Some are natural athletes, while others, like me, can barely walk and chew bubble gum at the same time. Some have beautiful voices that can make a heart soar. Again, not me. Some can tell stories. Some are musical. Some can express themselves through writing or sculpting or painting or a myriad of other mediums. Some are organizers, some nurturers, and some encouragers.
If you think about it for a moment, you will probably realize you have more than one gift or talent. I challenge you to make a list right now of five things you are good at, or things that come naturally to you. I’ll go first and show you how easy it is. I have put absolutely no thought into this list until this very moment so no cheating.
- I am good at expressing myself through the written word.
- I am an encourager.
- I get along well with little kids and can often reach them where they are.
- I am good at managing money.
- I am a good listener.
I must admit, the first few came quickly, then I had to start thinking a little about my gifts. You may have to do the same. Don’t think too long. Don’t talk yourself out something. Don’t worry that you’re bragging. You’re just verifying what everyone else already knows. Once you identify your gifts or natural talents, it is important to determine if you are using those gifts to help others or if you are hoarding them for yourself.
In the Bible, Jesus told a story about a servant who hid his talent in the ground. In those days, a talent was a measure of money. The point of the story was the servant was afraid of his master and he didn’t want to lose his talent so he hid it in the ground. When the master returned from his journey, the servant gave the talent back and said, “Here is your talent, master. I didn’t lose it or squander it.” (This is my translation, of course.)
Instead of being happy upon the return of his money, the master called the servant wicked and lazy. “You didn’t do anything profitable and useful with the talent I gave you. You hid it in the ground so it didn’t even earn interest.” Then the servant was punished for his wickedness.
I think we often do the same thing with our talents. We are afraid to even admit we have talent. We tell ourselves we don’t want to boast, but really we’re lazy. If we admit we are good at something, we may be called upon to do something with it. We may have to use our talent with children to teach a Sunday School class or volunteer at our kids’ school. If we are an encourager, we may need to sit up late with a grieving friend.
Our refusal to use our gift may be nothing more than vanity. Maybe we’re not as good at something as we think we are, and we don’t want to risk rejection or ridicule.
We were all created with gifts and talents, and a free will to decide how to use them. A gift held in our tightly closed fist cannot impact or help anyone else. I believe our gifts and talents can change over time and through experience. At the end of my life I don’t want the Master to tell me I didn’t do anything profitable and useful with the gifts he entrusted to me. I want to touch hearts and impact lives and bless others, whether through my writing or reaching out to children or sitting up late with a friend when I would rather be sleeping.
What about you? What are your talents and gifts? Have you even thought about it before? What can you do today to enrich someone else with a gift you may not have realized you possess? Post below and let’s enrich others together.