Matters of Faith: Use What You’ve Got


by Rev. J. Loren Russell, BS, MDiv

If you suddenly discovered that your cognitive abilities were suddenly limitless, that your ability of perception, memory, judgement, and reasoning were beyond anything you could ever imagine. If suddenly, you had the ability to accurately and effortlessly calculate the number of jelly beans in a water bottle, remember anything you heard or saw with accuracy, could formulate a cure to every form of cancer and for AIDS, had the remedy for violence and the recipe for world peace.   Suppose you discovered that you could play any song on any instrument after hearing it only once, or could speak and understand a language that you did not know or never studied, what would you do?

Some of us have talents, skills and abilities that rival or even surpass those that I’ve mentioned. But they do nothing with them. They have been convinced that they and their gifts are of no value. They have been talked about, ridiculed and harassed. Their gifts are then disregarded and rendered worthless. They end up taking their gifts and talents to their graves, all those valuable resources to a place where they can never be used again.

Everyone has gifts. They may not be as extensive as the ones mentioned above, but we all have gifts. I remember when I was growing up, people would brag about their “gift of gab.” What they were saying is that they could talk their way into or out of anything. Some used their gift, helped others, and now are paid to use that gift of gab as DJs, lawyers, teachers, and some are even preachers. Some had the gift of artistry and are now using that gift to bless others as illustrators, architects, and designers. Some had the gift of compassion and are now blessing others in the medical and social services profession as nurses, doctors, radiologists and social workers.

The Apostle Paul wrote to his young protégé’ Timothy, seeking to encourage him to put to good use his God-given talents and skills. He wrote, “Do not neglect the spiritual gift that is in you..,” (1 Timothy 4:14 GNT). Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. articulated Paul’s position and encouraged us all when he said, If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”

Does it matter what your gift happens to be? Not at all! Putting your gifts to work is where miracles happen and where change takes place. Use what The Lord has blessed you with! Use what you’ve got! Be a blessing to others.., and you will be blessed in return! To again quote that great Apostle Paul, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap“ (Gal. 6:7 KJV). In today’s vernacular, we would say “what goes around comes around!” Use what you’ve got!

Be Blessed!

Rev. J. Loren Russell, BS, MDiv is an associate minister at both Goodwill Baptist and Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx.

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