Talents. We all have one… some people have many.
We don’t have to look hard or far to see people all around us using their different abilities for all kinds of different purposes, and it making an impact on the world around them. We have talented actors and musicians who provide for us entertainment. We have talented mathematicians who keep the financial part of the world moving. We have people gifted and talented with patience who teach our children, and the list could go on and on.
The same goes for the church world. We can see people with incredible gifts making incredible advancements for the Kingdom of God. I fully believe that the church has some of the most talented artisans, speakers, and individuals in the world within it. Some of the best archeological research, art, and humanitarian efforts come out of the Body of Believers known as the church.
In fact, using our abilities for the glory of God is part of what we are called to do! Romans 12:6-8 says,
Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
So… talents, we all have them.
But, with every good thing comes a temptation. What dangers come along with our assorted talents and how do we place safeguards in our lives to overcome these temptations? Let’s think together below.
- The focus shifts.
Lets face the facts… talents have a way of drawing attention to themselves.
All of us at some point have looked up to someone and said something along the lines of, “If only I could (fill in the blank) like (whomever it is you look up to) then I could (blank).
We live in a society that places individuals and gifts on a pedestal unashamedly and unfortunately that creeps into the church without us even realizing it. Too many people use someone else’s talent and their apparent lack thereof, or shortcoming in that particular area, to make excuses as to why they can’t do something. Or, it can turn into resentment or bitterness towards a person, group of people, or ministry area just because they aren’t “part” of it or just because they aren’t necessarily gifted in that area.
All of us are aware of what Romans 12:4 says,
For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function.
But, do we live with that attitude and/or mentality?
For example, I know people personally who are incredibly talented in areas but can’t move past the fact that they aren’t so talented in the ones in which they place on a pedestal. We all have met these people. They may be a great teacher, but they live in constant frustration because they want to sing and they just can’t…
Let’s embrace OUR gifts and use them, while also embracing others and their gifts and allowing them to use them!
We also must be aware of where we are placing the focus when we utilize our gifts. Sometimes it isn’t just another person’s fault when they idolize a particular gift that we may have. We must fight the danger of pride and point all of our workings and talents towards Christ the giver of all good things.
When the intentions are pure the focus will be right.
- Preparation begins to take a back seat.
Another danger that comes along with talents is that we begin to rely on our talents alone and preparation can take a back seat to other things. Now obviously this can be preparation for the task or spiritual preparation… but we will discuss the spiritual aspect in the next point.
As a Worship Pastor there are times when I could easily “check out” and not be prepared to lead my band at all when we are playing songs that I’ve either played or heard a thousand times before. We all know that most of our church music isn’t the most “technical” stuff out there… and I must fight the urge to simply rely on my abilities to put out a mediocre product.
But… by relying on talent or gift alone who and what does that glorify?
Hebrews 13:16 says,
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
We must fight the urge to offer up our “second best” sacrifice out of convenience.
Instead we must embark on the journey past mediocrity and into “excellence” for Christ, and excellence won’t come without preparation.
- Your giftedness can begin to overtake your spiritual maturity.
For me this is the scariest danger of all.
Each of us has the opportunity to allow our own giftedness to overtake and surpass our spiritual maturity.
We have seen this take place in our society over and over again. Think of a pastor, evangelist, or worship pastor who has fallen in their ministry. How does that happen? Up to the day their “ordeal” came out to the public they were still “ministering” and blessing others with the gifts and talents they had been given. But… what were they relying on? Obviously not God… instead their giftedness had surpassed their character. Their giftedness and overtaken their spiritual maturity.
Sure… we all mess up. But I believe we are talking about something else here.
God has given us gifts and we are to choose what we do with those abilities. In Scripture we know that David was called for a special ministry by God, and immediately following that call he returned to the field where he would shepherd sheep for years until the day that calling would come to fruition and be worked out within his life. Why? He had a gift… he was called.
I believe that God called David and then sheltered and hid him until his character was prepared for the calling in which he was made.
So… if David was sheltered until his spiritual maturity and character were ready for his gift then how are we safeguarding ourselves?
Our giftedness or success in life or ministry should never equate to our “spirituality.” They simply aren’t the same.
Guard yourself. Abide with Jesus. Your gift will work itself out in your life… but our first calling isn’t to our giftedness, instead it is to Jesus.
How are you gifted? How are you using that gift? How are you safeguarding your life?