While Joe was out fishing one day, he spotted an old man observing him from a distance. As the hours went by, the man continued to sit there and watch. As Joe was leaving, he approached the old man and said, “I couldn’t help noticing that you were watching me fish all day.” The man replied, “Well, you see, I used to fish myself years ago, but I gave it up ‘cause I just ain’t got the patience.”
For many of us, patience is one of the hardest virtues to practice. We want to be more patient, but in this age of “instant everything,” waiting for anything seems a waste of time. Being patient is something I struggle with on a daily basis. I usually find it relatively easy to be patient when dealing with clients, working with animals, or when writing, doing artwork or other enjoyable pursuits, even when they sometimes prove difficult. But it is often much harder for me to be patient with other drivers, at home, and with the people closest to me, when the tedium and annoyances of familiarity and the daily routine grate on my nerves and make me irritable and “snappish.”
Impatience can damage our relationships with other people. It can even affect our relationship with God, implying a lack of trust that God will do what’s best for us. We want what we want when we want it. But the fact is, our idea of good timing is often not good at all. God knows this and gives us things as He sees fit, so that we won’t fall into disastrous situations.
This is the last post in a 3-part series. To read Pt. 1 click here; for Pt. 2 click here. In Step 3 of my previous post, we listed all our talents and abilities. Step 4 dealt with finding opportunities to share our gifts. Now on to our last three steps:
5. Give without worrying about your imperfections or limitations. “Freely you have received; freely give” (Matt. 10:8 NIV). You don’t have to be a saint, genius, or the next winner of “The Voice” TV talent program to bring joy to others with your gifts. Let’s face it, the vast majority of us will never reach those levels! Give without restraint, and it will free you to be more than you ever imagined. Don’t get discouraged by what you see as your limitations. My mother couldn’t drive in her later years, but she used her talent for knitting to make sweaters and other items for charity.
Your gifts are only as great as you allow them to be. If you feel the need, read books or take a class to improve your skills. But it is by using our gifts, and seeing the happiness they bring, that we gain the greatest confidence. Our skills will grow as we continue to share them. We will also gain valuable feedback about where we are succeeding and how we can keep improving.
SPREAD JOY WITH YOUR GIFTS!
In my last post, I listed some of the benefits of sharing our talents and gifts. I also outlined the first two steps, which were praying for guidance and staying receptive to whatever answers you receive. You can read Part 1 here.
Here are the next two steps of our 7-step program:
- List all of your talents and abilities. “Then Moses called…every skilled person in whom the Lord had given ability, and who was willing to come and do the work” (Exodus 36:2 NIV). Like a designer of great artistic creations, God gives each of us unique gifts and the power to use them to touch other souls with His light. Open your mind and heart to honestly evaluate your abilities:
- Do you have a creative gift like music, art, writing or dancing?
- Are you good with animals? With children?
- Do you excel in sports?
- Are you a good listener?
- Can you make people laugh?
- Are you good at gardening, sewing, cooking, or carpentry?
- Have a talent for public speaking?
- Are you a compassionate, nurturing type of person?
Ask people who know you well for their input. This is no time for false modesty! True humility is the ego rising to a higher level by honoring the will of God. It is the attitude that God is the creator of our gifts, and our duty is to use them according to His plan, to honor Him, serve others, and make the world a brighter place.
God is holding a universal, never-ending talent show — are you a contestant?
“When I stand before God at the end of my life,” said American humorist and best-selling author, Erma Bombeck, “I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.'” Yet many of us find it easier to be generous with our money than with our time and talents. Giving of ourselves feels frightening and risky, and we tend to put our own feelings before God. Like a mother bird with her fledglings, God wants to push us out of our nest of complacency to use the talents He has given us. We want to try our wings, but lack confidence in our ability. But God is always nearby to answer our call for help. When we trust in Him, He gives us the strength and courage to spread our wings and soar to greater heights.
Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth…the light of the world. Don’t hide your light under a basket! Instead, put it on a stand and let it shine for all…so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” (Matt. 5:13-15, NLT). Let your light shine!
What are some benefits of sharing our talents and abilities?