My first job in high school was at a department store. I started working there in November and was quickly trained to prepare for the Christmas rush. Part of that training was gift wrapping. Since my parents had never really trusted me around expensive things, I had very little experience wrapping gifts. However, I quickly discovered that I was really good at it. Using minimal tape and just the right amount of paper, I could make a box look as though the paper was printed on it. I could do ribbons and bows, even the curly ends on the ribbons that look so fancy. I was a gift wrapping beast.
However, I still do not enjoy wrapping presents. Whether it is my pulpuslaceratapohobia (fear of paper cuts for you lay folk) or the fact that football is constantly on television during wrapping season, I avoid wrapping at all costs. This caught up with me in my second year of marriage. My wife was wrapping gifts for my parents while I watched football on the couch when my parents asked her why I wasn’t helping. She, of course, said that she did not want me to sabotage her fine work. I’ll never forget the look on her face when my parents told her about my “secret talent.” (I also became a world class shirt folder at that job. Please don’t tell on me, I hate folding clothes.)
I was sandbagging. I was hiding my talent because I did not want to be asked to use it. How often do you think that happens with our spiritual gifts? In a perfect world, our interests would be a perfect match with our talents. But that isn’t always the case. Far too often, we try to excel in our interests instead of finding interesting ways to utilize our talents.
God has given us the talents we have so that He may be glorified, not us. So the next time you are asked to sing a solo, find a way to get over your stage fright. If you are asked to prepare a meal for a family in need, strap on that “Kiss the Cook” apron and make it delicious. When you are invited to work on a Habitat for Humanity house, grab your paint brush and put your talent to work. Whatever your talents are, you need to find a way to put them to use for the Lord. Even if you are very interested in serving in other ways, do not ignore the gifts that God has given to you. He gave them to you for a reason.
What gifts do you have that you need to put to use?