Star Search and Serving the Lord
I grew up watching Star Search hosted by Ed McMahon. Even as a little kid, I was captivated by the talent these regular people were exhibiting through the screen. As years went by, I continued to be impressed by contestants on American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance, my personal favorites among dozens of other talent-seeking television programs. As much as I love music, I haven't picked up an instrument to play in about 20 years. I can sing loudly, but usually not on pitch. And any dancing I might attempt would most likely result in a pulled muscle, but I would be dancing for the Lord, and therefore, His eyes only. I think because I'm not naturally gifted in these particular ways, I have a respect for others who are. I know that playing instruments, singing, and dancing are art forms that require endless practice. I would never suggest otherwise. However, there are some of us that could practice around the clock, and the professionals would politely recommend that we put our efforts elsewhere in order to make more effective use of our time. Nevertheless, I envy those who make beautiful music.
As a youngster, I also remember watching my older sister at family reunions, holiday functions, and church fellowships. No matter where we were or who we were with, she has always had a natural ability to carry on effortless conversations. I was more of a hide-in-the-corner kind of gal. I always enjoyed listening to conversations, but when I attempted to join in always had trouble converting my thoughts into spoken words. I stammered, made awkward attempts at jokes, and sometimes just stood speechless. Small talk was not a skill I could list on my resume. I envied her ability to chit-chat.
There are, in fact, a lot of talents and abilities I see in other people daily that prompt me to wistfully think, "If only I could sing/converse/debate/cook/memorize/be patient/run/teach/stay organized like so-and-so, I'd be so much happier." And more nobly, "Those are gifts and talents I could really use for the Lord." It's taken me all of my life to realize that God may not have given me those particular gifts, but He has given me my own set, and for that reason they are perfect for me. Rather than wasting time wishing I could do different things, I remind myself to consider what I am able to do and to do those things, as much as possible. God can use what I consider to be menial gifts for huge, kingdom purposes. I just have to use what He's given me.
This is a great reminder for the church family at large. Our God is endlessly creative, and that is evidenced through the unique way he has designed each individual human to be unlike any other. With that uniqueness, He's given us different abilities, strengths, and gifts. We should guard ourselves against comparison with one another. My tendency is to rank the gifts I see in others as higher than my own. The twelfth chapter of Corinthians warns against this. Not only is the diversity of gifts He's bestowed on us a good thing, it is an essential thing! We are all part of one body with different roles and functions that work together in unity, all for His glory.
When I feel like what I have to offer is unworthy, I need only remind myself that I am using what God has given me and I am doing what God has enabled me to do. If I am doing it for Him, that is more than enough.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24