From a young age, we are all taught (at least I was) to reach for the brass ring, run to win, and do your best to succeed in everything you do. “Second place is the first loser,” was a common mantra of my generation. I was told to follow my dreams and I could do anything my young heart desired. Well, that is so not true. Reality has come to bare its teeth and has devoured up my innocent dreams on more than one occasion. That kind of pain is not as rare as I wish it was. I have found there are numerous things I’m no good at. For example, I humbly will admit, I can’t play an oboe, a clarinet or a saxophone. I tried a few times, but the sound of running a small animal through a broken blender was just not appealing—to anyone, including myself. I would joyfully listen to my collegiate classmates play their instruments with such poise and beauty that I would find myself longing to do and learn more. Yet reality is the cave man hands God gave me are more suited to pounding on drums than playing gentle melodies on a flute. God gave me something to use for His glory in how he created me, just as he has done for you. The Psalmist wrote, “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.” (Psalm 139:13–14) God knew on the day I was created I was anything but soft and dainty.
Too often we can look at the success of others and foolishly compare ourselves to what we think we see. Glaring bitterly through the dirty glasses of pride and envy, we long for more than what we have, without an ounce of thankfulness and stewardship for what we have been given. James wrote, “But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.” (James 3:14–16) Not knowing the pain, suffering, and sacrifice that must be given to create the success or beauty someone else may seem to possess, we angrily take our seat of selfish disappointment and confusion.
While we often sit around the campfire of jealousy, wallowing in our self-pity, and singing a rousing chorus of, “I wish, I wish, I had,” we neglect to use that which we have been gifted. We cease being good stewards and allow our talents to rust and rot around us as we weep over what we do not possess, all the while losing sight of all the good things we can lay hold of in a selfish cloud of unthankfulness. The question comes to mind, what are we doing with what we do have? Nothing? Something? What are we waiting for? God has called us to be good stewards of all we possess, be it much or little. The good talent and gifting, both natural and supernatural, have been handed down to you and I from the Father of lights. James wrote, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.” (James 1:17–18) Talent, without number and without equal, has been given to us. Why without equal? Because God only made one of you, even if you are a twin, there is only one of you and you are created to produce good fruit for glory of the Kingdom of God. We have been called to be faithful. Never in the scripture are we called to be successful, but faithful, as Paul wrote, “Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.” (1 Corinthians 4:1–2)
We must stop sitting in the stands of self-absorbed failures and get in the game. Whatever God has given you, use it for His glory as a faithful steward of heaven’s gifts.“As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:10–11)