I could hear from the tone of the Saxophone Player’s voice that something really bad had just happened.
Doug was installing a new shower head we’d received for Christmas, when the water pipe that pokes out from the shower wall broke off right into his hand. It didn’t unscrew off, mind you. It was sheared right at the point where the threading starts and it screws into another pipe.
This was not good.
Doug texted our son-in-law, and asked if he could check it out the next day. Tim’s a handy fellow, and conveniently lives in the upstairs apartment. So, the next afternoon Tim came down with a pair of pliers in hand. I was surprised he only had a pair of pliers. I imagined the tub wall would have to be opened to get to the rest of pipe, and said so to Tim.
Cheerfully, (he’s a pretty upbeat guy) he said, “Well, maybe not. If I can remove the rest of the pipe, we shouldn’t have to open up the wall.” He explained that he’d checked on the situation earlier, before leaving for work, but the pliers he had used didn’t do the trick. “Hopefully, this pair will work.”
I went back to what I was doing (making applesauce), while he did his thing. About a minute later, he calls out: “I got it!”
“Yeah, thanks to my grandfather’s pliers.” He laid them down to show me. “I couldn’t find them this morning, but I had a feeling they would do the trick.”
There are lots of pliers in the world, and they all work just fine, but that particular pair was just what Tim needed for that particular job.
I don’t use pliers often, but I use other tools. We all do. Some tools we reach for everyday, and some maybe only once a year. However, even that tool you only use once a year, like the hacksaw that Doug uses to make a fresh cut on our Christmas tree, is irreplaceable. Nothing else can do what it does.
As I thought about tools, and how thoughtfully designed and carefully crafted they are for their particular purpose, I started to think about us—you and me. We’re actually tools, too. We were thoughtfully designed and carefully crafted, too. And, the Master Craftsman who designed us created us for a very particular purpose.
Stop and think about that.
Now, no analogy is perfect, but I think there’s a measure of truth here. The Word of God tells us that we are gifted by God with certain talents: something we can do. These aren’t always talents like we normally think of talents—performance talents. It might be a talent for bringing order to chaos. Or, maybe you can turn a carrot and an egg it into a tasty and beautiful birthday cake. Maybe, you aren’t a singer, but you can make the singer’s voice heard above the drums in a room filled with 1,000 people.
As many tools are in any toolbox or kitchen drawer, it’s still just a drop in the bucket of how many different talents God has gifted His creation—you and me. Whether we have several, or have trouble thinking of even one, I can promise you that God has given you a talent, and He means for you to use it for the very purpose He intended.
So, what’s your talent? Does something come to mind? If you’re like I used to be, you might feel too insecure to say what you think your talent is, and that’s OK. I would probably still have a hard time admitting out loud that I have a talent for doing anything more than making gravy, and when I was younger—and so much more insecure—that’s the only talent I thought I had to offer the Lord. I baked cookies for the homeless, I cooked for church suppers, and I took meals to the sick. I took the only talent I thought I had, and used it every chance I could. As I kept serving the Lord with the talent I had, and doing anything else for the Lord—including things I was definitely not talented at doing—I discovered and acquired other talents.
Now, a reasonable question right now might be, “How do I find out what my talents are, and what God’s purpose is for my talent?”
Well, this is my simple answer: first, start doing whatsoever your hand finds to do for the Lord.
“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.” Ecclesiastes 9:10 (NKJV)
That’s one reason we need to be in church. In church, there are so many opportunities to serve God. Some opportunities might not sound very appealing. Or, we might be tempted to say, “I don’t think I have a talent for that.” Yet, as we start doing whatsoever our hand finds to do, we start to discover there are some things we’re actually really good at, and really enjoy doing. That’s a good sign. Our leaders are going to recognize our talents, too. We might not think we’ve a talent for something, because we compare ourselves to others, but our leaders can be more objective.
Now, your next reasonable question might be: “How will I know God’s purpose for my talent?” That answer is even simpler that the last answer. The ultimate purpose for any talent is that it glorify God.
“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
1 Corinthians 10:31 (NKJV)
Now, if we happen to attend a church that doesn’t have many opportunities, we can ask our pastor to help us find a local ministry that needs help. However, I suspect most pastors will have something for a willing person to do. We might start serving in just a small way, or in a way we really don’t think is using our talent (or that we are talented at doing), but that’s how God leads us to those works that He has prepared in advance for us to do.
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV)
Start doing something, and see what God does next.