Don’t Leave Your Gifts Half-developed
Jesus’ parable of the talents illustrates that God expects us to make the most of what he gives us. We are to cultivate our gifts and abilities, keep our hearts aflame, grow our character and personality, and broaden our experiences so we will be increasingly more effective in our service.
Paul told the Philippians to “keep on growing in knowledge and understanding,” and he reminded Timothy to “kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you” (Philippians 1:9b NLT, 2 Timothy 1:6b NASB).
If you don’t exercise your muscles, they weaken and atrophy. In the same way, if you don’t utilize the abilities and skills God has given you, you will lose them. Jesus taught the parable of the talents to emphasize this truth. Referring to the servant who failed to use his one talent, the master said, “Take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags” (Matthew 25:28 NIV).
If you fail to use what you’ve been given, you’ll lose it. When you use what you’ve been given, God will increase it. Paul told Timothy, “Be sure to use the abilities God has given you … Put these abilities to work” (1 Timothy 4:14a, 15a LB).
Whatever gifts you have been given can be enlarged and developed through practice. For instance, no one gets the gift of teaching fully developed. But with study, feedback, and practice, a “good” teacher can become a better teacher and, with time, grow to be a master teacher.
Don’t settle for a half-developed gift. Stretch yourself and learn all you can. “Concentrate on doing your best for God, work you won’t be ashamed of” (2 Timothy 2:15a MSG). Take advantage of every training opportunity to develop your SHAPE and sharpen your serving skill.
In Heaven, we are all going to serve God forever. Right now, we can prepare for that eternal service by practicing on Earth. Like athletes preparing for the Olympics, we keep training for that big day. “They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally” (1 Corinthians 9:25b MSG).
We’re getting ready for eternal responsibilities and rewards.
by Rick Warren.