Chapter 38 – Talents

 

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

– Colossians 3:17, NIV

Isn’t it wonderful, the realisation that everyone has something of value to offer. Each one of us is unique and has been blessed by God in different ways. We all have abilities, gifts and talents that can be used to bless, help or encourage others, and to build the Kingdom – even if the only thing we feel we can offer is a kind smile and a listening ear, or a shoulder to cry on.

What an amazing and beautiful reality, that God has given each of us talents of so many different kinds. In my work there is an activity that I sometimes ask people to participate in, called the ‘We Can Game’: in it there are a hundred cards, each with a skill or talent written on them – some more obscure than others – and the group are asked to split the hundred cards into three piles, one entitled ‘We Can’; another entitled ‘We Know Someone Who Can’, and one entitled ‘We Cannot’. Before they begin they are encouraged to guess what percentage of cards will end up in the ‘We Can’ pile – how many of the hundred skills can be achieved by the individuals in the group. Often people guess about 30-40%, and then become increasingly amazed when they find that the vast majority of cards usually end up in the ‘We Can’ pile – and very few in the ‘We Cannot’ pile. This game provides an illustration of what can be achieved if we work together, offering our skills and talents to our community. Often the activity provokes conversations such as, “I’ve been looking for someone who can do basic woodwork – can I give you a job to do?”, or “Wow, I didn’t know you did metalwork – how did this interest begin?”, or “I am interested in gardening too: perhaps we can meet and do some gardening together!”. It is a wonderful process, and very inspiring to watch. People leave the room with an attitude of ‘together we can achieve anything’, or ‘wow, aren’t people amazing’, or ‘maybe I am talented after all’.

It is awesome that every person has something valuable to offer, even though some feel like they have no special talent. God has put gifts and skills inside each of us, and we should be thankful to Him for our talents and for the skills of others around us that we and our communities may benefit from. May we surrender our talents and skills into His hands, that He may teach us how to think about them, and that He may use them to build His Kingdom and to bless others.

Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.

– 1 Chronicles 29:14, NIV

So may we give ourselves wholeheartedly to God, to be used by Him in whatever capacity He may wish. May we offer Him the skills and talents that He has blessed us with. May we surrender all that we are, and all that we are capable of, and may we be willing to use what He has given us in ways that will make Him smile. May we see our talents as an investment that He has put within us, that may produce fruit if we allow Him to work through us by His grace. May we surrender.

Earlier this week I came across a lady who is suffering from depression and lives in absolutely dire conditions. She had bought a curtain pole so that she might be able to hang curtains in her living room to make it feel more homely, but she had no tools and no idea where to start when considering hanging the curtain pole. Rather than going home to get my screwdriver and doing it for her, a colleague and I considered putting her in touch with a FairShares programme – a group of people who offer their time, skills and resources in return for each other’s time, skills or resources – a sort of community market, but trading in time and abilities rather than money. The lady considered this – someone with DIY skills could do some work on her house including the little things like putting up the curtain pole – but said that she had no skill or talent to offer to the scheme in return. We sat and talked about some of the wonderful skills that she does have, and what she might be able to offer: she is a good listener when she is in the right mood, and would be willing to sit and chat with an elderly and isolated person when needed. This is such a precious gift – she has the time to offer it, and it is much appreciated!

God has given us salvation, grace, even life itself. And what’s more, He has given us gifts and talents that we can use to bless others and to build His Kingdom. So may we surrender ourselves to Him. May we surrender our hands to Him, and our gifts and talents. May we surrender to Him our attitudes – the way we think about the talents and skills that we have to offer. He may open our eyes to opportunities to serve and bless others in ways that we would consider no effort at all but that mean a great deal to those who do not possess the skills and abilities that we do. May we surrender, and allow God to speak to us, challenge us, and use us for His glory.

Let this renewed desire to serve Christ be marked with the investment of your time, talent and treasure. When you spend your time for God’s purpose, you employ your talents in the work of the Lord, and you’ve given your resources freely to God’s house, you will demonstrate to God that you have freshly surrendered yourself to Him. Go for it! Give in all the way to God’s plan for your life. You will never regret it! One of the ways you keep your spiritual fire burning is to initiate times of fresh surrender to the Lord. … Surrender your interests to God. Communicate in a fresh way to the Lord that you will not give your curiosities, concerns and attention to things outside of His will.

– D. Ireland, in Journey to the Mountain of God

 

Lord of my life,

Thank You for showing me the way to serve and bless others.

Thank You for the beautifully selfless example You gave us in Jesus.

Thank You for all that You have given to me – all my abilities and talents, all that I own, my life and my salvation.

I’m sorry for forgetting those around me who are in need.

I’m sorry for living as if my life, my skills and my abilities are my own.

I surrender to You my hands and ask that You would teach me.

Help me to give You the glory for all that I am able to do. Please plant your generosity within me.

I surrender to You my skills and talents: use them as You wish!

Teach me to prioritise You; to love and serve and give as You lead.

May I live in Your ways, serving You the way You want me to.

Amen

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