Tag Archives: faith

America’s Got Talent – So What’s Yours?

What’s your talent? Take the time now: name something you’re good at (out loud).

We’ve all got things that we’ve been told we do well or that we feel that we excel in. What hobbies do you like? Do you love singing, playing an instrument, playing a sport, or writing? Maybe your talent is something else like collecting coupons, holding babies, making others feel comfortable in a social setting, or knitting. Are you good at juggling or encouraging others or drawing? Can you decorate a room, re-purpose old furniture, cook meals that make mouths water or run faster than the average person?

No matter what your talent, how are you using it for God’s glory?

This morning I was reading a book that my sister had given to my kids. As they listened to the Parable of the Talents, I was feeling convicted.  Here is the story from the Bible:

“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received the five talents went to work at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with two talents gained two more. But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’ His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share in your master’s happiness!’

The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’ His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share in your master’s happiness!’

Then the man who had received one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and sent out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'” Matthew 25:14-30

While this passage is obviously talking about money, I think we can relate it to actual “talents” that we possess. How can we use the things that we’re good at (whether it’s a lot of things or a few things) for God’s glory? If you’re good at playing with children, your church can use your help! If you’re good at collecting coupons and getting groceries cheap, maybe you could consider donating to your local food bank. If you have great organizational skills, maybe a local ministry could use an hour or two of your time. If you know how to work a computer, maybe you could help your church’s A/V team. If you know how to crochet, maybe you could consider making baby blankets for the hospital like my mom does.

Even the most time-deprived person can serve the Lord with the gifts He’s given. But do we get started?

  1. Consider the talents God has given you. Write a list of things that you’re good at. It doesn’t have to be related to how you’ll serve yet, but it’s a good start. Chances are that if you’re good at something, you’ll also enjoy it!
  2. Pray about how to use those talents for God’s glory. I recently read in Jeremiah about how he would prophesy. It was interesting to hear him say that he just spoke the words that the Lord would give him or things he had seen that the Lord had showed him. In addition, he said “But if I say, ‘I will not mention [God] or speak any more in His name,’ His word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.” Jeremiah 20:9. I’ve been praying for this kind of fire. May we know what we are to do and not be able to NOT do it! May God give us a burning desire to do His will and work on earth!
  3. Take action. Don’t hide it under a bushel – NO! Let it shine! Ask your church leader how you can serve, look up local organizations that may need your help, ask a neighbor or a friend if you can be of service, or look for other ways to give God glory for your talents.

And now’s a great time to remind you that God gives us the talents to start. When we just serve out of the goodness of our heart in a position we’re not called to, it can quickly feel burdensome. But, when we use a talent that God has given us, we can feel great satisfaction in glorifying Him by using our talents for His purposes!

They don’t have to be “showy” talents like preaching on stage or leading worship on your guitar. Maybe you can do something “silly” like balance a pole on the edge of your chin – I just saw a children’s show where a man did exactly that and he talked about the love of Christ to those little ones in the audience. Wow! I heard another friend of mine say that she feels like she is good at counseling young newly married gals; I’m sure there’s a lot of women who could use some advice! I would have loved a mentor! I have another friend who’s a great cook who said she signed up at her church to bless people with meals when they have a need.

Maybe your ministry could be encouragement – are you good at remembering to send cards or postcards (hey, feel free to even leave a comment on a blog post!). Maybe your talent is in math or accounting, writing or proofreading, speaking or even cleaning. If you’re good at something, there is a place for you in God’s kingdom work!

I encourage you to not waste your life in the humdrum of everyday and forget eternity. Who can you bless? How can you glorify God with what He’s given you? What is He calling you to today? Let’s pray and ask!

Dear Father God, thank You for Your Word. Thank You for blessing each one of us with talents. Whether we have several things we’re good at or just one thing, we realize that we are to be using our gifts for Your ultimate glory. And Lord, when asked what is most important, You tell us that it’s loving You and then loving others. How can we use our talents to show You love or to bless others on earth? What does it look like to use our talents for Your glory? Where do you want us and how can we serve? Please open doors of opportunity and give us the instinct to immediately obey. May we not lose the eternal for the things that are passing. May our lives be for Your ultimate glory – it would be a joy to hear ‘Well done, good and faithful servant’ when You come back for us! Thank You, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!

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What’s the Point?

Have you ever come to a place in your weight loss journey where you wonder “what’s the point?” After all, working out is taking time away from your family, friends are asking you to eat out, and you wonder what is the purpose of denying yourself something that you enjoy in this fleeting life.

It’s at these exact times that we need to reflect on why we started losing weight in the first place. What motivated us? And if all the reasons were selfish, chances are this is where we give up, go back to our old habits and gain the weight back that we’ve lost. For truly if we ‘re losing weight to please ourselves, we can also convince ourselves that the food we’re missing is also pleasing and start gratifying our sinful nature. There has to be something more that compels us to keep going when the going gets tough.

This morning my reading included Isaiah 58:4-11, which says:

Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
    only a day for people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
    and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
    a day acceptable to the Lord?

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
    and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
    you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
    with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
    and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
    and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you always;
    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like a spring whose waters never fail.

So, when you are fasting (or denying yourself something you crave), why do you do it? I would encourage you to list the reasons and see if there are more you can uncover from the above verses. For me personally, here is a list of why I began and hope to continue on this journey:

  1. To Untie the Yoke and Be Set Free – I want to be able to say no to food and not feel like I am a slave to my eating habits. I want to be set free from a body that holds me back from being able to run and jump and play with my kids. I want to be able to live life to the fullest and part of that is feeling good about myself and feeling healthy in general.
  2. To Not Turn Away from My Own Flesh & Blood – I want to be the wife that my husband desires. I want to be the mom that my kids aren’t ashamed of. I want to be there for all the important moments and not having to sit on the sidelines to catch my breath while they keep going. I want to be able to have fun with the people in my life who matter the most.
  3. To Do Away With Malicious Talk and Pointing Fingers – I want to clean up what’s going into my body and what’s coming out. This may be seem selfish, but generally speaking, I want to be more like Christ and seek ‘perfection’ (while unattainable) and hope for ‘excellence’ in all areas of life. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to God!
  4. To Share Food With the Hungry, Clothing With the Naked and Shelter to the Poor Wanderer – I’ve been praying lately about how I can be the hands and feet of Jesus. After reading a book where two children were orphaned and a woman took them in and raised them, I began to wonder if I had the same open home and open heart that God desires. Would I share what I have with those who need it? What does that mean or even look like? And if I’m too self-conscious about how I look or too exhausted and out of shape to be helpful, am I really serving God in the way He would desire? Can I be “fit for service” and offer my body to the Lord to be used by Him to help others? Literally, with Jesus in my heart and the Holy Spirit guiding me, I am the physical presence of God on earth, if I’m taking the time to get my eyes and focus off myself and rather onto loving God and loving others as we are called to do.
  5. And sure, I want to look good. I want smaller clothes to fit. But, I also know that beauty is fleeting and charm is deceptive. If I’m only seeking selfish gain in my looks, I probably will again seek selfish gain in food. For being self-centered only leads to more selfishness.

If you’re feeling tired, if you’re wondering why even bother, maybe it’s time to reflect on WHY you felt called to try in the first place. Remind yourself of what being healthy will mean for those around you and even God’s future plans for you. It’s going to be worth it! After all, God promises to meet our needs and strengthen our frame.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word and Your love. Thank You for reminding us to not only humble ourselves for the sake of ourselves but for the sake of others. What does it look like to loose the cords of injustice? What does it mean to share with those in need? How can we best serve you? Please renew our minds and strengthen our spirits as we seek ways to please You and love others. Are there people in our sphere of influence who need to see You? Show us how to be obedient in answering Your call to help. May we be healthy and thin and fit for service. May our healing come through You! And may You be honored as we fast and seek Your will. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!

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