The picture of a musician bowing at the cross with his guitar is a reminder to us. God gives gifts and abilities, but our lives are never about these gifts. We can enjoy them, and we can use them for God’s glory; but what counts in our lives is ultimately that which cannot be seen. God looks upon our hearts. He knows our desires, our priorities, our needs, our hurts, our struggles, and our focus. He knows how much we truly love Him and desire to give Him glory. He knows our moments of purest devotion and the moments when we can’t seem to keep our minds from wandering. He knows how much our God-given gifts and talents can become a part of what we and others view as our identitiy. But, once again, when God looks at us, He just sees our hearts. He could have chosen any gift or ability to give to us. Would our fundamental identity have been changed if he had given us a different set of abilities? What if we lose our abilities at some point in life? Does God see us as less valuable or less able to bring Him glory?
God is the giver. In His wisdom, He chooses to give gifts, talents, and abilities to each person He has formed within the womb. He chooses the person…He chooses the gifts….He chooses our time and place. The very fact that God chooses all of these things makes them important. He has invested Himself in each of us as He was creating and forming who we would be. And yet, the Bible makes it clear that the most important thing that God sees when He looks upon us is our hearts.
It is good to use the gifts and talents God gives. He wants us to use them and even expects it. He wants us to develop our skills and abilities and to become the best we can be. He wants us to experience joy and delight in using our gifts and in the journey toward using them with skill and excellence. However, in all of our striving, let us never forget that He sees our hearts. In Him, there is the freedom to let go of the results of our efforts. Ribbons and trophies, certificates and compliments, honors and publicity…. these are all the fleeting types of recognition that we give to one another to recognize a job well done. None of them matters as much as knowing that we have done our absolute best to honor God. We were not in control of which gifts we were given, but we can give them back to Him by surrendering them to His care. Just as Jesus surrendered His earthly life, we can allow God to make our lives (including the moments that we have honored God in using the gifts that we have been given) have eternal significance by giving them back to him in daily surrender. If we love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength and do our best with the gifts we have been given, we are fulfilling Gods’ purpose in a way that far exceeds any earthly accolades.
In addition to the gifts, talents, and abilities we receive from the Lord, there is a very important element that should be present in our lives in order to allow us to use what God has given us. This crucial element is passion! There are people who could be phenomenal athletes, singers, poets, writers, artists, musicians, business owners, teachers, politicians, or whatever. However, if an individual does not possess a passion for a field of endeavor, they will never do much more than dabble in it. For example, there are people who are sitting in the pews of every church who could really be an asset as a teacher, serving on a committee, or serving in worship ministry. However, they either are going through a season of life that prevents their service (such as caring for a loved one who is ill), or they have not yet deepened their relationship with the Lord enough to see the need for serving Him through their church, or they are specifically called to service in a para-church organization, such as a ministry to battered women, or they simply do not have the passion for a particular area of ministry that would be called for in order to maintain a commitment to serve. It is very important that Christians who serve and seek to bring glory to God in any kind of ministry or in any vocation (1) have a sense of calling to that vocation or ministry area, (2) feel that God has equipped them in some way through the giving of gifts and talents, which they have then developed through study, practice, the investment of their time, and taking advantage of growth opportunities such as classes or conferences, and (3) have a deep sense of passion and commitment to excellence as well as faithfulness in that area of service or career. For many people, the passion is not the problem. Passion is definitely present in their lives for the areas in which they feel they have been gifted for a vocational or ministry calling. Passion is a wonderful and necessary element in using our gifts, talents, and abilities. However, we must remember that the key to balance and to keeping a proper perspective is the knowledge that the most important thing is always what is in our hearts. Gifts, talents, and abilities are a blessing; but they are not what God values most. With whatever we have been given, we must love the Lord with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength and seek to honor and bring glory to Him.
Be thankful for the gifts, and worship the Giver!
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James 1:17
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
Post written by C. Boyd
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