American Idol, America’s Got Talent, and the list goes on of shows allowing young people to showcase their talents, or lack there of. I’ll admit, when these shows first came out in the early 2000’s, I was an avid fan. I saw young people’s lives changed forever because they believed in the gift they had. Ruben Studdard, David Cook, Clay Aiken, Carrie Underwood, and Kelly Clarkson each with an incredible voice in their own right, lit up the stage and went on to win their respective seasons on American Idol.
The biggest reason we love these types of shows is that we love rooting for the little guy. Those caught up in the obscurity of small town life. They have yet to be seen for the talent they have. We love seeing people make it big. Maybe because part of us wishes, or hopes that one day it will be our turn.
What sets each of these winners apart, is their incredible, God-given talent. Sure, some of them have worked hard for years to refine their gift, but it seems to come more naturally to them.
We all have God-given talents and abilities. Some are more polished than others and some are more noticeable than others. Every person on the planet has a talent that is as unique as they. You can call it what you want: talent, gift, ability; but generally we mean what we are good at. It’s what just easy for us. Sometimes it is incredibly hard to find out what exactly it is, but other times it’s obvious.
At times we get jealous or envious of the talents of other, because we wish we had it. Especially, the talents that stand out.
What’s my talent? The one talent I am the most proud of is my ability to remember faces and names. It’s not 100%, as I found out, when a guy I hadn’t seen since high school recognized me. However, I love remembering people’s names. Why? Because I believe it shows people they have value. Every person has a name and every name has a story.
There are some talents that we are born with and they come incredibly natural to us. But, I don’t believe we are limited to those talents. It all depends on how much we want to invest to become really good at another talent.
I didn’t play instruments growing up. It always seemed like it would be cool and that the girls really liked guys that could play guitar. But, I never worked to buy a guitar, and because of this, failed to put in the hours it would take to play well. When I graduated college, my in-laws gave me my first guitar. I was set on learning how to play. Today, I can play the guitar, but nowhere near as well as if I’d consistently put in the time to become great.
In college, I got an A.A. in Music. Why? I really have a heart for worship and thought I really wanted to be a worship leader. I had sung in choir in high school, but really lacked the confidence to step out and lead. Part of my graduation requirements was to take four semesters of piano. It was so hard to learn, but I learned enough to make it through with a degree. I can’t play the piano very well because I haven’t been willing to put in the hours it would take to become proficient.
We all have the ability inside of us. We just have to be willing to put in the hard work it would require to develop the talent we want most. But, that is the problem isn’t it? We all want the ability and the glory that comes with it, but we don’t want to sacrifice, work hard, and put in the effort to get what we want.
Our abilities are limitless. The only limit to what we can do is the one we place on ourselves.
There are two ways which we can live limitless with our talents.
- Our Limitless God
In the Bible, Jesus tells a parable (a story to prove a point) of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30 ESV). Now it’s not the talents we have talked about, but a monetary unit. One talent was actually worth about twenty years’ wages. The parable goes,
“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.”
The parable continues to tell what each of the three servants did with the talents they were given. Two of the servants, worked hard and invested what they had been given. But, the third servant hid what was given to him so that he didn’t lose it. The owner comes back and has each servant give an account for what he did with what was given to him.
The owner is proud of the two servants that worked hard to double their talents. He, however, became extremely angry with the one that hid it his talent and did nothing with it. The servant made excuses as to why he didn’t do anything with what he was given. But, those excuses did not distill the fury of the owner.
“So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness.”
God gives us each talents and abilities, but He also takes them away from those whom are unwilling to use them. We have to be willing to use what we have to bring glory to God.
When we are willing to use the talents that God has given us, in time, He will give us more. I think it’s because we are then instilled with a better work ethic. We, then, can work towards other talents.
- Limitless Talents Come From Hard Work
I know it’s a novel concept, but if we want a certain talent we have to put in the work for it. Our society is always pushing to make life easier. We want all the spoils of life without putting in the work. As my friend and Pastor, Justin Graves, puts it, “We want to live like Mom and Dad, but without putting in the lifetime of work to get there.”
We feel entitled and even life owes us something. The reason we don’t have the gifts, talents, and abilities we so wish is, in fact, we don’t want to put in the work required to have them.
A study published by the BBC, states that most “tone-deaf” people aren’t really tone-deaf. They could actually learn to sing if they would be willing to work at it. The majority of us could sing better if we would practice, take lessons, and work hard.
Sure, some of us have talents and abilities that come easier to us than it does to others. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t work hard to get to their level of skill. But, even those that can sing, play the piano, or do stand up comedy, put in a lot of work to get better.
When I was asked to be the Children’s Pastor at Foundations Church, my first thought was that I can’t do it because I am not good with kids. I had limited experience in Children’s Ministry and what I did have was a nightmare. But, I accepted the position believing that if I was willing, God could teach me, and I’d learn to be great at Children’s Ministry.
A part of being great at Children’s Ministry is being organized. I am not naturally organized. But, I haven’t allowed that to stop me from learning how to become so.
Our abilities are limitless. We are only limited by our willingness to put in the hard work. As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”
I can’t (no pun intended) tell you how many times I’ve heard people say, “I can’t!” “I can’t do children’s ministry. I’m not good with kids.” “I wish I could do that, but I just can’t.” We limit ourselves because of how uncomfortable or how much work it would take to achieve what we want.
So the next time you are tempted to say I can’t, really what you are saying is, “I don’t want to put forth the time, effort, or energy it would take to learn that talent.”
We have a Limitless God who is able to do more than we could ever imagine, and if we are willing to put in the work, nothing is impossible for us to achieve. Our talents are limitless.
How have you found this to be true in your life?
What talent do you have now, that without working hard would just be a wish?
As my reader, do you appreciate these types of posts as well as the ones about my life?