Growing up in a church where gifts were celebrated and going to a high school where sports and the arts were promoted, I was always surrounded by an environment where gifts and talents were encouraged and valued.
Now I did consider myself fortunate to have a few gifts, but the only problem was that I never felt like I had a gift worth celebrating.
Other than doing 300 sit-ups in a row, spinning a basketball on my finger, and bending my thumb all the way back I never believed I had any special gift or skill to offer.
There were interests that I found intriguing but when I compared myself and I saw how other people were gifted in ways I never could be I felt dumb, and in many ways, I felt as if my gifts were as useless as the letter B in the word dumb.
My mistake was that I had a false definition of what a gift was supposed to be. I thought a gift, skill, or talent was something that you did to be seen and celebrated. I thought it was something that you were automatically good at with no effort.
Looking into scripture I learned that God has a different definition of how a gift is to be appreciated and valued.
1 Peter 4:10 says “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
When I read that scripture, it finally clicked! My gift should be used to serve those God has placed in my life. Soon I was looking for opportunities to serve rather than to be celebrated.
Thankfully with the encouragement of my parents and mentors, the various interests I had were now being cultivated into gifts that I could use to serve my family, church, and community.
Part of cultivating our gifts is the task of stewardship, God can give us a talent or gift, but we are also responsible to nourish and grow that gift to where it can serve the Kingdom of God and those around us.
To illustrate this let me share a short story with you.
When the great renaissance artist Michelangelo was asked how he was able to sculpt a beautiful statue of an angle of impeccable life like artistry he replied, “The angle was always in the stone, I just chipped away the pieces covering it up”. In many ways, we too are like Michelangelo. We each have been given the blessing of life like he was given a stone, and inside of each stone, there is a beautiful angle waiting to be seen only if you can chisel it free.
The chiseling process can sometimes be difficult and in many ways hurt a little but as your stewardship and service continue something amazing can be revealed.
Each of us has a calling and gift that is as unique as our fingerprints so I personally cannot tell you what you are gifted in. What I can do is give you a few ways I learned to take responsibility and carve out my gifts from the stone.
Here are 3 ways you can be a good steward with your gift:
1. Gift’s need development – Every general started as a recruit, every manager had to first start out as an employee, and every popular You Tuber started out with 0 subscribers. What sets these people apart is that they continued to develop their gift when others at one point decided to give up.
If you want your gifts to grow and excel you must first start by developing what you already have by focusing on how to better serve and solve problems. As you develop be careful not to live a life of comparison as it can extinguish the passion for your gifts. Development looks like practice, patience, hard work, and…
2. Gift’s need direction – You can be the fastest sprinter but unless you run in the right direction of the race/marathon you will lose. In developing our skills, we need to understand that for our gifts to flourish they need to move in the right direction. If your skills are only there to serve yourself, or to serves others only when it’s convenient the gift will not be appreciated and valued. The best place we can implement our gifts and talents is in the Kingdom of God and in the lives of others. Connect with your church leaders, parents, and loved ones to find out how you can serve them.
3. Gift’s need deployment – An arrow can never hit the target unless it is released. Likewise, a bird will never learn to fly until it leaves the nest. God can place an amazing gift in your life but unless it is released…
Remember that there is no coupon for success
Thankfully with time, hard work, and dedication, I saw that the gifts God had placed in my life were able to flourish and it didn’t matter if my gifts were seen or celebrated as the joy of being a blessing and blessed through what God had given was all that mattered.
Serve God and his creation with all your heart and strength and your well of gifts, skills, and talents will never run dry.
© Jonathan Dawson 7.21.21