"…for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her." (Proverbs 8:11)
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Unearthing Your Hidden Talents

A wise friend once told me that if we don’t like a characteristic in another person, it’s likely because we see the same trait in ourselves.

Not the real dude...but close.Her words came back to me this morning after I met a young man who is trying to make his way in the film industry. At least, he says he’s trying to make his way. His appearance and demeanor sent the opposite message. He recently returned to Texas after dropping out of film school and is working part-time at a child care center in a local gym. To my knowledge, he is not plugged in with the local film and video production community (which is huge and thriving in the Dallas Metroplex), nor is he savvy about new trends in online video (as evidenced from our conversation). His mode of dress – a well cultivated hipster thrift-store look – likewise did little to convey the qualities of ambition and drive.

I found myself feeling not only let down by my brief encounter with this individual (who I had hoped might be a resource for upcoming projects), but also feeling resentful, even angry toward him. In recognizing this, I had to ask myself just why I was so hot and bothered by someone else’s shortcomings?

The truth is that I do see some of myself in him. I like to think of myself as a highly driven and ambitious person – but upon closer examination, I am only motivated in those areas that are most comfortable for me. I will put in 12- or 14-hour days working on projects for clients. I will dedicate 3-4 hours a week for Tae Kwon Do class. Often, I will stop whatever I am in the middle of to help my husband with an immediate need. And in doing these things, I pat myself on the back and laud myself for my work ethic. But God’s Word keeps coming back to me…

What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?

God must have known that the focus on worldly pursuits over our walk of faith would be a major sticking point for us mortals. He issues this same warning multiple times in the New Testament, including Mark 8:36, Matthew 16:26, and Luke 9:25.

So what does my worldly workaholism have to do with the slacker tendencies of the young man I met earlier today? I believe that both are rooted in the lack of willingness or desire to put to use the talents that God gave us to further His kingdom here on earth.

The erstwhile film student said this morning that he just wants to share his art with the world; yet, he chose to drop out of school and is not actively pursuing connections in the industry. The erstwhile Christian blogger – that would be me – says she wants to help lead others to the Lord by writing inspiring, thought-provoking articles and essays. Yet, it has been almost two years since I posted anything to my inspirational blog.

Twice in the past 48 hours, God has brought Matthew 25 to my attention – once through a television show I stumbled upon, and again this morning when it appeared as today’s passage in the Christmas reading plan I am currently following. This chapter includes the parable of the talents, in which three servants are entrusted with gold coins (called talents in ancient times) by their master, who is leaving on a journey. One received five talents, one received two talents, and the last received one talent. Two of the servants took the coins given to them and put the money to work, so that they returned to their master twice as much as he entrusted to them. Both are rewarded for their efforts, with their master putting them in charge of even more wealth and inviting them to celebrate with him. But the third servant, who had been given only one talent, got scared and hid it in the ground. When he comes before his master, he is chastised for his laziness, the money is taken from him, and he is thrown out into the darkness.

The message is one of eternal significance. As Bible teacher Bob Deffinbaugh writes, “Faithful service led to increased responsibilities in the kingdom of heaven, and eternal joy in the presence of the Master, Jesus Christ. Unfaithful service led to condemnation, the removal of one’s stewardship, and an eternity of weeping and gnashing of teeth in outer darkness, away from the presence of our Lord.”

We cannot let our fears keep us from using our talents. You are not here by accident. You were made for a purpose. The Bible says in Ephesians 2:10:

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

We all have different gifts – some are good at music, others at science, others at writing, and others at machinery. No talent is better than any other, and all are blessings from God. This Christmas season, the best way to celebrate the birth of the Son who gave his life on the cross so that we can have eternal life is to demonstrate your love and gratitude by using your talents. This is my commitment to Him – and to you – now and in the coming New Year. God bless.

1 comment

1 Madeline Robison { 12.18.10 at 10:05 pm }

This is great, great stuff, Leslie. I’m so very glad I saw it and read it. Now that you are seeking to live out your talents a bit more – although from my perspective you have already been doing a fine job thus far – how often do you plan to post greatness such as this? You are obviously a gifted writer (in terms of mechanics, syntax, etc.), but you are also sharing Truth … and that is a whole different level of special. Godspeed, my friend.

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