CHAPTER 5: PURPOSE AND USE
“As every man has received the gift, even so, minister the same one to another.”
-----I Peter 4:10a
In the previous chapter, I mentioned discovering our talents and Spiritual gifts through prayer. An awareness of our gifts and talents should further define and solidify our purpose. But how do we know what our gifts are? In Romans 12:1 the apostle urges believers to “(by the mercy of God).present your bodies to God a living sacrifice... and be not conformed to the world, but be transformed, that you might prove what is the good, acceptable and perfect will of God.” He then tells us to “think soberly, according as God has given to every man, the measure of faith.” He then goes on to talk about various Spiritual gifts. So, the first step, after accepting the gift of salvation is to present yourself to God for His use. Then don’t be conformed to the world system but renew your mind through reading His word, the Bible. Then, with your mind renewed in the word, prove, or test out what your gifts may be. Try various things and get the advice of others until you find out what it is you are good at and enjoy doing. These things would comprise your Spiritual gifts or talents.
What is the difference, you may well ask, between talents and Spiritual gifts? Talents relate to natural abilities while Spiritual gifts are divinely given for Spiritual purposes and are driven primarily by Spiritual motivations. Some Spiritual gifts may develop out of talents. For example, you may have a natural talent for writing, but it becomes a Spiritual gift when you are motivated by the Holy Spirit to use your talent to teach other believers or to evangelize the lost. On the other hand, some Spiritual gifts may be completely independent of natural talents. Our purpose should be tied to our God-given talents and Spiritual gifts and knowing our purpose should compel us to use what you have to the fullest.
I felt compelled to add something here about the law of use after listening to a message in a series by T.V. preacher, Pat Robertson. Understand, I’m not endorsing Pat Robertson blanket, though I feel that God has given him insight into certain areas of practical Biblical interpretation. Thus, it struck me like a ton of bricks when he mentioned “the law of use” and illustrated it by explaining compound interest (adding interest to principle so that the added interest also earns interest) and by relating that to Jesus’ parable of the talents (Matthew 25:1-30). In the case of compound interest, you are using the money you have to gain more money by causing it to earn interest and adding the interest to it so that the total, in turn, can earn more interest, and so on. In the parable of the talents, the ones who invested and used the talents they were initially given, were given more, while the one who hid his had it taken away and given to the one who had most. I had never thought of it like that before, but it also applies to all areas of life, including our gifts and talents. What we don’t use, we lose. Physically speaking, if you don’t use certain muscles, they atrophy. If you have a talent, whatever it is, for singing, acting, writing, or whatever and you don’t use it, you will, to some extent, lose it, or lose the ability to function in it to your fullest capacity. Use, on the other hand, sharpens and hones whatever talent or gift you have. As the saying goes, “practice makes perfect.” Thus, Pat’s advice and mine would be to use whatever talent you have to the fullest. In doing so you may not only improve your existing gift or talent but also gain more gifts or talents in the process.
I can’t think of any examples from my novel, because actually none of the characters did use even their natural talents to the fullest extent. As perhaps a negative example, Pilate failed to use his strong leadership ability to the fullest, so that, finally, when prodded by his wife to use it more, he misused it and ended up in trouble for doing so.
1) "Seek not the life of the immortals, ...Enjoy to the full the resources that are within thy reach. "
---Pindar (522 BC - 443 BC)
2) ”The secret of concentration is the secret of self-discovery. You reach inside yourself to discover your personal resources, and what it takes to match them to the challenge."
3) "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use."
---Galileo Galilei (1564 - 1642)
4) ” What's right about America is that although we have a mess of problems, we have great capacity - intellect and resources - to do something about them."
---Henry Ford II (1917 - 1987)
5) "People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use. "
---Soren Kierkegaard (1813 - 1855)
6) "Few men during their lifetime come anywhere near exhausting the resources dwelling inthem. There are deep wells of strength that are never used."
---Richard E. Byrd
7) ”To be thrown upon one's own resources, is to be cast into the very lap of fortune; for our faculties then undergo a development and display an energy…previously unsusceptible."
---Benjamin Franklin (1706 - 1790)
8) ”A wise man gets more use from his enemies than a fool from his friends. "
9) "I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow."
---Woodrow Wilson (1856 - 1924)
10) ”The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it."
---William James (1842 - 1910)
11) "Skid sideways [through life], thoroughly used up, proclaiming 'Wow-What A Ride!’"
12) "And the LORD said unto him, 'What is that in your hand?' And He said 'A rod.'"
13) ”You should have put my money to the exchangers and then at my coming, I should have received my own with usury.”
14) "As every man has received the gift, even so, minister the same one to another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God."
---Peter (I Peter 4:10)
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