God given gifts

I recently read a post from The River Walk, a daily devotion that’s emailed out or readable on their site, which was about our God given gifts and using them. The author talks about Esther (from the Bible) and how she became the queen by using a gift she didn’t even realise that she had. A gift God used to put her into a position where she could help others without her knowing it. It got me thinking about our gifts. Do you know what yours are and are you using them? I believe one of my gifts is my ability to write, to tell stories and generally get a message across. Having said that, I also know that I’m not always perfect at it so please don’t think I’m boasting. I believe that our gifts need to be used to be perfected and when they are not used they gradually slip away, just like a musician or sports person, who, when they don’t play for a while, get a bit rusty or slow.

I think the timing of this lesson I read was perfect. It was Grand Final weekend in Australia for two of our football codes, AFL and NRL. Grand Finals are the perfect time to see gifts used in perfection. The best of the best, from throughout the current seasons, are lined up to play against each other, in a display of each individuals gifts, and how they can use them in a team environment, in that sport. We, the spectators (otherwise known as the not-so-gifted) love to watch performances like this. Just think about the things we like to go see or listen too or even watch on TV… musicians, dancers, sports stars, actors and even comedians. They are all gifted in those fields and have excelled in them. But you take one of those people and put them into one of the other fields and they will probably fail to be as good as a star from that field, eg I don’t think Billy Connely ever dunked a basketball like Michael Jordan.

Unfortunately, our gifts don’t always line up with our interests. It’s no secret that I like basketball but I am no Michael Jordan either. The skills I have (or had) came from years of practice. I have coached kids that have more skill in the game, at age fourteen, than I ever had. But it never stopped me from trying (and having fun along the way) and that’s ok because I knew it wasn’t one of my gifts. I didn’t try to force the issue and make it one of my gifts, instead, I have used it along with one of my other gifts – coaching. I could also mention my love of guitar music and my lack of skill in playing a guitar… but I think you get my point.

I have gifts, I know how to use them and I practice them so that I get better at using them. But I didn’t always know what those particular gifts were. When I was younger, I had other gifts. Gifts which were suitable to my age and surroundings. As I grew older, my surroundings changed and my gifts changed with it. I was not a good writer in high school and yet here I am today, a published author. A gift that, I believe, God has given and developed within me. When I was younger, I was a gifted in understand computers and helping people with their problems with them. While I am still able to do that, I’m not as good at understanding some of the more technical things that happen with the current technology. Is my gift going rusty? Or was my gift used to its fullest potential when it was needed to be? I tried to do a computer networking course recently and there were times that I just could not wrap my head around what I was learning. I felt that I was wasting my time. Was that me having issues or was that God’s way of telling me that gift was over with? To pursue that meant that I had no time to write, no time to use the newer gift. To what lengths do we go to hang on to something that we want and ignore what God is trying to point out to us? dc Talk had a song called My Will in which they sang, “It’s my will, and I’m not moving, Cause if it’s Your will, then nothing can shake me.” It always gave me the feeling that if I’m following God’s path and using His gifts, then there will be less opposition than if I’m going my own road.

So, do you know what your gifts are? Are you using them? Or are you struggling to use old gifts still?