Talent and Respecting Individuality
Guest Article Written by Briana Rumley
Everybody has a talent. Talent being that one, or two or three if you are lucky, thing that you are great at doing. You may be talented at any number of activities. Some people work in jobs where they can practice their talents: hairdressers, doctors, singers, or even guidance counselors, social workers, and police officers. Others work at different jobs and turn to their true talents as hobbies. It has taken me a while to realize that I have a talent for interpreting text, and for conveying ideas through writing. I’m not the best writer, there are many better than me. I am also good at other things; I bake fairly well. It has been, however, a great journey of discovery for me to learn my talents and be able to use them for good things.
The Bible tells us that we are all given particular talents, and that none is less important than another. I find this best laid out in 1 Corinthians 12. The entire chapter gives examples of a few ways in which we must recognize not only our own talents, but the talents of others and how they are to be used harmoniously to glorify God. Verses 18 and 21 give some perspective on how we should feel about our individuality and the individuality of each other. Verse 18 says, “But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased,” and verse 21 continues the thought with, “And the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you;’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’” Each of us may consider ourselves a “member,” that is, a part of the body; the body being the church, or even the world! Each part of the body possess a unique function. We use our brains to think, our eyes to see, our feet to walk, ears to listen, and so many other smaller parts do even more amazing things. Our bodies were created so that all the parts may work together harmoniously to allow maximum functionality. Our hearts would be of no use to us if they were on the soles of our feet, as they would be easily injured and we would not be able to live for long. That is why God in wisdom put our hearts inside our bodies, so they would be protected. This same concept applies to us individually as we work daily for Christ. Some of us were made better writers, some of us speak different languages, some study germs and create medicines, some work in dangerous jobs to ensure our safety from things that may harm us. God has created each of us to work individually for his glory and to allow the maximum functionality of his Church and our world.
Once one understands they have a talent, they must decide how to use it. Although God has designed each of us to work for a greater purpose, we do not always realize what that purpose is. Some of us have talents that help others, some talents are used to create happiness, some talents are used to comfort those in sadness, some talents are used to lead, and some are used to challenge. All of these things are important. Few would dispute that farmers are important, they provide us with food, which we could not live without. We don’t all live within walking distance of fresh oranges. So we must also recognize the importance of truck drivers who bring us these oranges, assembly line workers who constructed the trucks, and then the oil rig workers who harvest the oil to run these trucks. To consider this kind of analogy emphasizes the importance of each job, or talent. These jobs help our world function, so we must also work with our own jobs and talents to spread news of God’s love to the world.
So I suggest to all, if you are good with children, volunteer to work with your church’s youth. If you can cook, volunteer to host suppers throughout the year to provide fellowship within your congregation. Even the smallest talents like knitting, photography, writing, and speaking are needed to spread God’s message to the world. Everything we do should be for God’s glory, and we must be cautious to never underestimate our own importance, or the devalue another’s. We are all made with purpose, and we are all to love one another. If you are struggling to find your talent, spend some time in meditation and self-discovery. If you know somebody struggling, offer some ideas for activities they may want to try. They may discover a talent they never knew they had! Then, when you have discovered a talent, look for opportunities to use them. You never know where they will make a difference.
Since I’ve found I have a small talent for writing I’ve undertaken a few projects. I write for my family to help with filling out documents. I edit college essays for my friends. Sometimes I edit copy for scripts for my friend who has a talent for filmmaking. I even hope to write a novel. I don’t make money doing this, I do this because I enjoy it and it helps people I love. I think for me, that is how I write for God. He has given me a talent to use, and to refuse to help knowing I can do something is a waste of my talent, and therefore defiant to God. If I were a lung and decided not to show up for work one day then that would need to be corrected! You would not tolerate a lazy lung, as God will not tolerate me being a lazy writer. Of course there are other things he has created me to do, but when I feel called to write, or somebody has asked for my assistance, I must help. I enjoy my talent, and it is good for me to share it with others.
So, respect your friends who write, sew, train cats, mediate conflict, and mow lawns. You may not understand how it benefits to the bigger picture, but God does. He created talents, and He created each of us to do one, or two or three, really well.