people are so talented it makes me wonder
if I was indisposed when God handed out His special gifts. Was I
napping? Distracted with making my computer behave? Or worse, was I in
the restroom helping my kids negotiate the intricacies of the soap
Did I miss it when God stood
before humankind and asked for volunteers?
“Who wants the gift of patience
to work with teenagers, toddlers, and tired husbands?”
“Who wants the gift of
generosity to give of their time, talents, and treasures with nary a
“Who wants the gift of energy
so they’ll never need a ten-minute
nap and actually look forward to entertaining twenty-one relatives at
Don’t look at me.
I’d love to have these talents.
If God would have given them to me,
I’m sure I would be very pleased with myself. And rightly so. But He
has to forgive me if I look on the recipients of certain gifts such as
these with a large dose of envy. My pitiful levels of patience,
generosity, and energy are proof that God also doles out booby prizes.
Truth is I’m jealous.
This jealousy is not becoming
and often leads to my competitive side
keeping score. I secretly rig the unofficial contest so I have a
fighting chance to at least call it a tie in the number of gifts I have
(or claim to have). It took the exhibit of an extraordinary talent to
make me find a more godly response.
At our church there is a teenage
boy who is a music prodigy. When
our regular organist is on vacation in the summer, this teen fills in.
Expertly. On this particular summer Sunday, he played a sonatahe
had written. I sat in awe as I listened to him play. How had he tapped
into the notes, the rhythm, the inspiration? The congregation burst
into appreciative applause. When our pastor moved to the pulpit, he
shook his head in wonder and said, “Seeing someone use their potential
to such a high level inspires me to look at my own talents. What can I
Where was his jealousy? For if
ever there was a reason to be jealous, it was because of this boy’s
listened to the pastor’s remarks. They hit
the bull’s-eye of my envious heart. I asked myself how I could better
use the gifts God had given me. It wasn’t a matter of looking at
myself, but looking inside myself to see how I
could use my
gifts for the benefit of others—not just for my own selfish
gratification and certainly not to win an I’ve-got-more-than-you
contest. I need to raise my hand and volunteer my gifts instead of
I also need to recognize
attributes in other
people. What gifts do I see in my kids? My spouse? My neighbors? Do I
appreciate their gifts as I want them to appreciate mine? Do I tell
What would happen if we all used
our gifts to a higher level, until
we inspired other people to use their gifts to a higher level . . . and
on and on.
Maybe I was
present when God handed out His gifts. I just
have to look deeper, bring them to the surface, utilize them until I’m
playing my own form of sonata. I need to tap into the notes, the
rhythm, and the inspiration.
I need to tap into the giver of
my gifts. I need to tap into God.
Shh! I think
I hear some heavenly applause.