Saturday, August 19, 2017

What are Your Gifts and How to Use Them

When God molded you, he placed within you many talents and gifts. Some talents are apparent right away and some need to be nurtured. 

The parable of "The Talents" in Matthew 25:14-30 tells of a master who is going away and entrusts his property to his three servants. A "talent" was a significant amount of money. To the first servant he gave five talents, to the second he gave two, and to the third he gave one talent. The master leaves without giving the servants any instructions on what to do with this property but it is apparent from the story that they knew he would want it back when he returned. The first two servants used their knowledge and doubled the talents. The third, however, was afraid. He dug a whole and hid his talent in the ground so it would be "safe". After some time, the master returns and the servants bring the possessions back to him. The first servant explains that he doubled the money and the servant replies, 'Well done, thy good and faithful servant. You have been trusted with few things, now I will put you in charge of many'. Likewise, with the second, the master is proud of his accomplishments. As the final servant brings his one talent back and presents it to his master he explains that he was afraid so he hid the talent in the ground. He obviously was afraid he would lose it. The master is harsh in his words and call him wicked and lazy! He couldn't even deposit into the bank where it would at least gain some interest. So, he takes the talent from him and gives it to the first servant. 

The moral of the story is: Use it or you Lose it! 

I am sure you have heard that saying at some point in your life. It is so true! If you have a gift, that you have ever quit using for a while, you know how hard it is to come back to it at the same level as when you left it. Whether it be; singing, playing a musical instrument, dancing, drawing, or anything else that you are gifted to do, it is important to continue using it.

Three steps to using your gifts and talents:

1. Identify 
2. Nurture 
3. Use them 

Identify your gifts and talents - as many as you can think of. Write them down. Some of these will be easy. Then ask yourself, 'What do I like to do?' Write those things down too (even if you think you're not good at them). Next, ask your family and friends. Sometimes others can see things in us that we can't see ourselves. You may be gifted in encouraging or helping others. That is a "gift".

Nurture them - practice, take lessons, practice. Feed those talents that you enjoy doing. Get better by doing them more. 

Use them - Find a way to use the gifts you have to benefit those around you. Can you use this talent somewhere in the church, at your job, or in the community? God gave you your gifts because he wants you to use them for good. If you use them He will increase them. Do not hide them or He might just take them away!

Other resources to help identify your gifts and strengths:
Available from Amazon.

Living Your Strengths: 

Discover Your God-Given Talents and Inspire Your Community 

by Robert L Winseman

affiliate link)

Friday, August 11, 2017

For I know the Plans I have for You...

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."

This is one of my favorite scriptures! I love to plan...plan my workday, plan my weekly menu, plan our vacation, and write it ALL in my monthly planner. I like to know what I am doing so I can "mark it done" and have that since of accomplishment. 

Many times our plans are not God's plans, and our ways are not God's ways. (Isaiah 55:8-9) I used to get upset and stressed when things did not go as I had planned. But, I have learned that I can plan... and still be flexible. There will be times when something comes up that must take priority over what is on my list for that day. It may be a task that is more important, a sick family member that needs attention, or a divine appointment with a stranger. I don't want to be so busy that I miss an opportunity that is placed before me.

I know God's plan is better than my plan and I have to trust Him and be sensitive to his leading in order to stay on the right path. I want to be in the center of His will; whether I am working, with my family, or doing a ministry for the Kingdom. 

The path is not always clear. At times, it can be scary because I don't know what is going to happen next. I want to see ahead and know that everything is going to work out... but God knows. He can see ahead and more importantly He sees the "big" picture. He knows what is best for me and His plan includes good things for my future!