Years ago I worked with a young colleague who was musically talented and very good at playing the piano. One evening the staff all met up for a get-together at her home and she entertained by playing the piano. At the end I said to her “Oh you are clever to be able to play like that” and I have never forgotten her reply. “Oh no, Ada “ she said “It’s just a gift!”
This remark really made me think. She was of course quite right. We should not take pride in some talent we are born with, something at which we did not have to work, although I hasten to add that my friend had passed all her music exams! Many people are born with gifts, from famous painters who can paint and draw, to the artists who make us smile with cartoons and who design greeting cards for us to buy and send to friends and loved ones. Then there are the writers of novels whose literary talents allow us to leave our everyday world and live another lifestyle and perhaps in another period of history. Beautiful singers, whose voices are a pleasure to listen to, actors who can make us laugh or cry, composers of beautiful music, the list is endless. Sadly some people abuse their gifts especially those in show business who become involved with drugs and alcoholism, die young and so deny the world more years to enjoy their talents. Also unfortunately some people become quite vain about the gifts which God has bestowed upon them. The woman who is pretty, the man who is handsome may be proud of their good looks when they have done absolutely nothing to deserve them. Some people are born with good brains and find it easy to pass exams. I admire the ones not so blessed who study hard to achieve their goals.
What has the Bible to say about all this? In the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:15-30) three servants are given talents of varying degrees by their master. The first two use the talents they have been given, make a profit and are praised for their efforts. The third one however does nothing with what he has been given and hands it back intact to his master who is displeased. Is this what some people do with a talent they have been given by God? Do they return it to God at the end of their life like an unopened gift?
I believe that every single one of us is born with a talent of some sort and perhaps you don’t even realise it. We have people who are born with “Green Fingers” and whose gardening skills are a joy to behold. Have you ever walked down a road and paused to admire the colourful display in a garden? Many women are talented in needlework and we gasp in admiration at their wonderful efforts. There are many humble creative people in our world and, while we admire the surgeon’s skilful fingers let us not forget these others. Everyone has some talent or gift to offer to their fellow human beings. Some time ago I ran a small computer class for some friends. At the end of the course one of them said to me “You have a gift for explaining things in understandable language and not everyone can do that.” So — that is my gift! I am good at explaining things!
What about my musically gifted colleague? Now a wife and mother she formed a concert party which goes round Residential Homes, Sheltered Housing complexes, Nursing Homes and similar establishments giving concerts and bringing music into the lives of those no longer able to get out and about. So she has continued to use her “gift.”
Whatever your particular gift, I urge you to use it in God’s service and in the service of a world which needs all the help and brightening up we can give it.
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