Grace to you!
Millions of viewers watched the recently completed Olympic games. From the field tracks to the boxing arena and the soccer field, no one who made it as an Olympian (whether they won a medal or not) made their country’s team list on a platter of gold. It’s by hard work.
Virtually everybody knows hard work pays. It’s easy to say. What isn’t easy is putting this self-evident principle into action. Here lies what distinguishes those who succeed from those who can’t. And I mean “can’t” because no hard work, no success.
Our nature as humans is richly endowed. We are all talented, though differently. Our talents aren’t because we are believers or unbelievers, it’s because we are human, God’s special creatures.
The subtle distinction between talents and spiritual gifts must be born in mind. Talents are our natural endowments. Gifts are special charisms from the Holy Spirit. The writer who writes the best prose doesn't need to be a “gifted” believer, so also the orator who speaks with the clarity of Cicero, or the convincing style of Augustine. Many orators aren’t believers.
Talents are part of our nature so designed so we can grow to the best God has made us. The growth is divine desire.
Here is a secret about developing our talents: when we use them, they grow. They mature. They become something else – something that surprises us. The more they are used, the better they develop and mature.
The death of talents is laziness; its growth is discipline and hard work. Those who go to bed early and rise late miss out on precious use of time. Time management is crucial to success.
Those who want to be spoon-fed are nipping the potentials of growth in the bud. Talent growth is about learning how to fish, getting on the boat and casting the net.
Developing talent has a sense of ownership to it. One can say I worked hard for it. God looking from heaven nods in endorsement of the child who put God’s grace to work. It’s God’s wish that we develop our talents.
If you want to develop your talents or your skills, use them. Don't toss them while looking for what another person has.
Do you have the voice to sing? Sing. Do you know how to write? Write until your hand hurts. Only then could your prose improve from a mere sketch to a synergy of thoughts weaved through riveting words.
Do you know how to play the guitar? Stretch the limits. Spare no chords. Can you dance? Take the stage and dance to the beats. Your veins and muscles need the swings and the stretches. It’s healthy too.
Do not censure yourself before it's time. Make mistakes. For it’s by a series of those messy and failing attempts that the talent is fine-tuned; the gold mine is dug.
The fear of mistakes and the ingratitude that what I have is inferior to what my neighbor has are two obstacles to developing your talents. Remember, as the Lord Jesus told us, “Everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away” (Matthew 25:29).
As God told Moses when he wasn't sure what to do, he also speaks to you today: “What do you have in your hand? Use it.”
One saint did. Her name is Monica. What she had was her knees and her heart of intercession. At least every one has that much. She used it, used it well. She never gave up hope. The result was the conversion of her wayward son, now known as Saint Augustine.
There are no two ways about it. Use your talents. Use them often and they will grow big. Many times, you would look back, in retrospect, and marvel at what you have become; how far you have gone.
I pray you develop your talents.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.