You may or may not know this about me, but I am in the middle of a business leadership read-a-thon. While I used to make fun of people who read John Maxwell, Zig Ziglar, and others, I now have become one of those people. Like Saul of Tarsus, I have turned from my persecuting ways to advocate for these books.
In John Maxwell’s “Talent is never enough,” the author argues that we cannot rest on our God-given abilities alone. We need to work on our talent and strengthen our strengths in order to be that much better. It’s simply not good enough to be that incredible athlete who cruises through games performing adequately on the field while slacking in the practice session. It’s not good enough to be pianist who is gifted musically but does not practice hard. Talent is not enough, one needs to strengthen that talent through these areas:
Belief lifts your talent.
Passion energizes your talent.
Initiative activates your talent.
Focus directs your talent.
Preparation positions your talent.
Practice sharpens your talent.
Perseverance sustains your talent.
Courage tests your talent.
Teachability expands your talent.
Character protects your talent.
Relationships influence your talent.
Responsibility strengthens your talent.
Teamwork multiplies your talent.
As I have been reading through this book, I began to connect the idea with a character I just read about. This man should have been, by all accounts, the ideal king. We are told in I Samuel 9 that this first king of Israel was Saul. He was from a wealthy Benjamite family and was a handsome, young man (no other man was “more handsome than he,” we are told by the author). In addition to his good looks, he was also tall and strong. In other words, he looked a lot like a bearded version of me.
Saul, by our logic, should have been the most successful king, with a long line after him filled with peace and prosperity. Instead, Saul’s natural talent was not used to bring glory to God, instead he was replaced by someone else. He was replaced by someone who did not appear to have as much talent as Saul (see I Samuel 16). While Saul was a king from central casting, the next king, David, was a king that was centered on the Lord. David was a man after God’s own heart, and his strength in the Lord provided him with a solid (yet, imperfect) kingship.
Talent, my friends, is not enough. God wants us to honor him through being faithful with what we have been given. He wants us to honor him through using our talents and strengthening them. He wants our lives to count, not just in the sense of discovering that hidden knack of oboe playing though. He wants us to glorify him through our lives and to enjoy him through it both now and forever.
What talents has God blessed you with?