Posts Tagged ‘Talent’

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TALENTLESS GLORY – Sept 10

September 10, 2014

“You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19b-20

 The other morning, I once again watched this video as I ate my breakfast.

The emotions elicited from Carrie Underwood’s exaltation of our God’s greatness caused me to linger upon God’s glory. I am always encouraged to see God-given talent directed back toward our Creator.

Musicians using their talents to lead me in worship of God;
Teachers whose charisma encourages me to follow Jesus;
The intellect of pastors drawing me deeper into the mysteries of the divine;
Authors explaining difficult truths that ease my understanding;
Poets whose words plow fresh soil in my soul;
Artists who create works that raise my eyes beyond this world.

I can easily acknowledge and join in the praise that the talented present to the Lord through the works of their bodies.

I am equally tempted, in darker moments, to think that the glory potential of my body is significantly lower than that of the talented. I know that the price paid for my salvation is the same as that paid for Carrie Underwood or C.S. Lewis or Spurgeon or Milton or any number of talented people who love or have love our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, it seems that the Lord might have gotten a poor bargain when he saved me. When I consider what I have to offer God, I am inclined to place myself on the clearance rack.

I don’t want to diminish my talents, but I also recognize that they are not “world class”.  However, there are billions of people just like me.

We have never been at the top of the class.
We have never been invited to an audition.
We have never been courted for the corner office.
We have never won a race.
We have never had a best-seller.
We have never even been close to a platform.

As a result, the glory that God receives from my body and those like me comes quietly, without ovation, from a heart that fumbles with rudimentary talents in simple love for our Savior.

I wonder if this glory from the simple is not the glory highly esteemed by our Lord.

Consider the fact that He has created more “unexceptional” people than the world class variant.  There is rarely a question of motivation for the under-gifted. The gifted will always have to struggle against their love for the praise of men.

I have never made melody with my voice in praise to our Lord with the secret hope of a compliment. I am not musical. Therefore, I have only one motivation when I worship our Lord through singing – love. I sing praises to the glory of God because I love him. I believe that the glory from my body, at that moment, is purest and most undefiled by my love of self, primarily because I lack talent.

I believe God relishes that glory – pure glory coming from a heart that is loving Him first and foremost.

However, I have preached with a secret hope of being complimented. I have written with a desire to be liked. I have used my talents in assorted ministries for God’s glory and gotten a little boost in my self-love. This self-love complicates the purity of my worship. It contaminates the motivation of my praise. As a result, the glory to God from those who were blessed by the use of my talents was probably purer than the direct glory from my conflicted motives.

Those with unexceptional talents should be encouraged when we consider the primary purpose of man – to glorify God and enjoy him forever. God has created us perfectly. He has given everyone some gifts, but He has not given those gifts equally. He was not random. He was not arbitrary.

Consider for a moment that God has not given you talent so that you can better serve your God-given purpose, which is to glorify Him with your untalented body.

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. (1 Timothy 1:5)

Let us use our under-talented bodies to glorify God; motivated by a love for Him from a pure heart, good conscience and a sincere faith. We are the one who can do that the best – we were created for it.

PRAYER: Father, thank you for the gifts that you have given me. Help me to use them to glorify you. Forgive me for using the talents that you have given me to seek the praise of men. Teach me how to use the talents that I have with a pure heart, good conscience and a sincere faith. Lord, thank you for the gifts that I don’t have. Thank you for depriving me of world class talent. Thank you for obscurity. Thank you for anonymity. Thank you for creating me just as I am so that I can better fulfill my purpose with all that I am, in purity and sincerity.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

 

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“GIRL WITH THE CROSS TATTOO” – Feb 3

February 3, 2014

“Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey.”  Mark 1:6

While worshipping Sunday morning, I noticed the back of a young lady.

Female Cross Back Tattoo

I noticed it because she was making what I presumed to be a statement with her clothing.  She wore a blouse that had a strategic bit of fabric missing in the back.  The  small hole in the blouse revealed an oval of her back between her shoulder blades.  It is a type of shirt that I see many young fashionable ladies wearing. However, the absence of fabric is not what drew my attention.  My attention was caught by what was framed within that oval frame of fabric.  She had framed a tattoo within the center of that oval.

Tattoos are prevalent.  They are a much more commonly accepted mode of expression than when I was growing up.  They are so common that I am now more surprised by the ink-free athlete than by the inked.  A trip to Wal-mart will make one wonder if tattoos have now become adulthood’s right-of-passage.

I find tattoos an interesting case study of expression.  I am fascinated by the images people are willing to associate the remainder of their lives with.

Most images are frivolous and nearly meaningless.
Some images are purely evil.
There are images that appear to have hidden meaning.
Others are just an attempt at being cool and hip.

The choice that caught my attention at this Sunday service was that of a tattooed cross revealed by a fashionable blouse.  It was a statement.  I do not know how many blouses this young lady tried on in order to find one that framed her chosen expression but I assume that it was not mere coincidence.

Wei Tchou / Foter / CC BY

I realize that tattoos elicit strong opinions.  Regardless of the debate on tattoos, I appreciated the statement of this young lady.  She had selected a cross as the image she wanted the world to associate with her person for the remainder of her life; a solitary, simple, beautiful cross.

Ann Althouse / Foter / CC BY-NC

John the Baptist was clearly identified by the clothes that he wore.  Clothes of camel-hair and a leather belt associated John the Baptist as a classic type of Old Testament prophet.  John the Baptist chose the clothing of a prophet and then backed it up with the actions and lifestyle of a true prophet even to his death.  His life confirmed the statement of his chosen clothing.

Tobyotter / Foter / CC BY

I hope that the young lady with the cross tattoo chose it with as much intentionality as John the Baptist selected his garments.  My hope for this young lady is that her actions and lifestyle confirm the statement on her back throughout her life.  May her life be such a statement to the glory of God that when people see the cross on her back that they will know it is more than just a tattoo.

I hope it is a statement.

I hope that we all make similar statements in our lives.
I hope that we all live in such an intentional manner:

That our clothing makes a statement,
That our language makes a statement,
That our joking makes a statement,
That what we value makes a statement,
That our business practice makes a statement, and
That even our tattoos make a statement.

PRAYER: Lord, I lift up the young lady who I saw in church.  Father, I hope that what I saw was a statement of a child of God telling the world that she is yours.  I pray that you have captured the delight of her heart.  Lord, help her to learn to live in the strength of your Spirit to be a woman of God to your glory.  Father, help me to look beyond my own proprieties to see the true statement that my brother or sister is trying to make.  Help me to be gracious to the freedoms in Christ that other may choose.  Help me to be less concerned with other people’s statements and more intentional about the statements that I am making.  Lord, may those statements be consistent with the life I desire to live for your glory.   I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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“RICHNESS OF TRUST” – Jan 31

February 1, 2014

“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you , and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not.””  Exodus 16:4

A backwards boy lived in a time not long ago.  DJ was his name and the delight of his eyes was all that wealth could provide.  He dreamed of the comforts that luxury would afford.  He envied the attention women offered to the fashionable.  He coveted the respect granted those who had buildings bearing their names.

DJ desired riches.

0122 Welcome Stranger Gold Mine, Baileston, Vi...

The backwards thinking of this immature boy led him to believe that riches could be had by anyone willing to pursue them.  His world preached to him a strident individualism that he could be anything that he wanted to be.  The resources necessary to fulfill his desires already resided within him.  He merely needed to release his potential.  Therefore, he believed that riches lay in the deposit of potential within his very constitution.

The willingness to prospect those inherent riches from within oneself was the inferred difference between the rich and the poor.

Those who inherit wealth are like the miners who pick nuggets from a stream bed.

Other seekers of wealth must dig a little deeper into their deposits of intelligence, physical ability and/or charisma to sieve out the talents that DJ’s society readily rewards.

Gold-Bearing Quartz Veins

Still others must labor harder through limited potential pay-dirt but the inherent promise, that every person can be anything they want to be, can be claimed through hard work and dedication.

DJ lived in this paradigm of backwards thinking for decades.  It was while digging in the depths of his potential, prospecting for his fortune through hard work and diligence, that his Father joined him in his search.

As he labored in the presence of His Father, he was slowly shown the futility of his search.

DJ discovered that not one of the talents that he had labored to the surface in expectation of reward was ever a natural deposit.  All the riches that he had sieved and sorted were not a result of genetic chance or cosmic circumstance.  They had all been  specifically placed so that they would be discovered and developed for a specific time.

English: The door to the walk-in vault in the ...

DJ’s thinking was backwards.  While he had thought that he had within him vast deposits of unexplored potential, he was actually an empty vault.  An empty chamber filled periodically with treasures from his Father.

During a time long before DJ, his Father had other children who seemed to be treated differently than DJ.  The Father overtly provided for these other children.  They were given food on a daily basis but only enough for a day.  They always had enough and if they took too much it would perish with the rising sun.  The Father’s provision created an equally overt dependency.  Those children had to trust their Father daily for the provision of their food.  It was a trust that was tested by their Father.

That was the relationship the Father wanted – trust.

DJ’s Father corrected his backwards thinking by showing DJ that He still provides completely for His children.  The treasures placed in DJ’s vault are as overtly a gift of the Father as the manna He caused to fall in a desert many years ago.  It may not perish with the breaking of day but it comes from the same source – a loving Father.

DJ still struggles with backwards thinking even though he has been shown the true source of all that he has.  The temptation to store enough for tomorrow is always strong.  It takes a lot of trust to believe that the vault will contain tomorrow’s needs, to give away the security of next season, and to rely upon someone else.

However, DJ’s Father is still working on getting him to that proper relationship – trust.

To get there, DJ’s Father will periodically treat him like His other children by testing DJ as He did those in that long ago wilderness.  It is good for all that DJ values to periodically perish like that manna because it keeps him thinking in the correct direction and trusting his Father.

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for all  that you have given me.  Thank you for patiently correcting my thinking.  Father, all that I have is yours.  Forgive me for clinging to the security of your gifts rather than to you.  Forgive me for not trusting you with my future.  You know all that I need.  You have shown yourself loving to me.  I know that you give good gifts.  Teach me to trust you with everything I value in this life.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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“UNKNOWN MARVELS” – May 30

May 30, 2013

“Bless the Lord, O my soul!  O Lord my God, you are very great!”  Psalm 104:1a

We live in a remarkable age for the discovery of talent.  There are so many outlets through which people with talent can be found.  I am continually amazed at the singers who are discovered through various reality shows that are seeking the next musical star.  Many had sung in anonymity at coffee shops, bars, weddings and church choirs for years while their talent was deserving of a record deal.

WordPress and the other blog hosts have a staggering number of blogs.  There are millions of people in this world who have something to write.  I am continually stumbling across very talented writers in my web-surfing who cause me to exclaim, “They should write a book.”  So many of these wonderful writers have followers in the double digits, yet they are great writers.

The discovery of greatness does not cause greatness.  Consider the vast number of extraordinarily talented people who have passed through this world unknown.  Just think about all the brilliance that will go unrecognized this year alone.

I have just started reading the book; Galileo’s Daughter by Ava Sobel.  In 1609, Galileo Galilei came across a curious new Dutch invention called the spyglass.  By the end of that year, he had invented the first telescope with double the magnification of the original spyglass.  Galileo was the first person to truly see the expanse of the universe.  He was the first person to discover the mysteries of the moon.  He found the moons of Jupiter.  He probed the meanings of sunspots that had never been seen.

Galileo Galilei. Portrait by Ottavio Leoni. De...

Galileo Galilei. Portrait by Ottavio Leoni. Detail. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Galileo discovered a greatness in the sky that was previously unknown.

Galileo declared, Holy Scripture and Nature are both emanations from the divine word: the former dictated by the Holy Spirit, the latter the observant executrix of God’s command.

The greatness of God as revealed through the expanse of the night sky had been hidden since creation.  However, just because it was not discovered by man does not mean God was not equally great through all that time.

I wonder at the vast number of un-observed executrix of God’s command that we blindly pass by every day of our short lives.  Why would God create such wonders that man is incapable of beholding?  Why would He give gifts that are never discovered?  Why would He make beauty where eyes are absent?

God has made this world in the manner in which it has been made because He is great.  This world was not created for us.  It was created for Him.  This world is an expression of Him.  We simply are observers.  We are not the purpose.

No marvel that has gone unobserved by mere man has ever been wasted.  They are not wasted because we are not their purpose.  They were not made for man.  They were made for the Creator.  There is so much of the complexity of creation that is beyond our comprehension.

There are levels of God’s glory that are simply beyond us. 

The gifts of talents and abilities, undiscovered for the masses, have never been wasted.  They are not wasted because those gifts were not made for man.  They were made for the Creator.  The writer who writes without a readership still is fulfilling his or her purpose.  They are writing for the glory of the Lord.  The art that is never seen in a gallery is still of immense value because the artist’s talent is proclaiming the hand of the Creator.  The musician without an audience is an undiscovered marvel that was made for the praise of the Creator.

We are all a part of the executrix of God’s command.  Let us play our part in full accord and gladness.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward.  You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-24

PRAYER: Bless the Lord, O my soul!  O Lord my God, you are very great.  Thank you for blessing me with your greatness.  Thank you for giving me glimpses of what is completely beyond me.  Forgive me for lapsing into thinking that this world is about me and for me.  It is all about you, O Lord.  Father, help me to think beyond myself.  Help me to be content in serving you.  Free me of the bondage of the praise of man.  Show me that there is nothing greater than pleasing you and you alone.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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