In understanding how to effectively use our God-given gifts and talents, let’s begin by noting that our gifts and talents are both given to us by God. The latter is inherent from birth and the former is received when we become born again Christians.
Spiritual gifts are God-given abilities given to Christians upon receiving the Holy Spirit to enable us carry out our function or purpose in the body of Christ, which is the Church.
Talents are special physical abilities that are often inherent from birth and nurtured, e.g. singing, dancing, artistic skills, carpentry, etc.
Every Christian receives at least one spiritual gift alongside their talent. It is possible to have more than one depending on the level of your grace and abilities.
There are at least 22 spiritual gifts which have been listed out in the Bible to include:
teaching, service, prophecy, mercy, giving, exhortation, administration, leadership, apostle, discernment, faith, healings, knowledge, wisdom, speaking in diverse tongues, interpretation of tongues, evangelism, miraculous powers, helps, celibacy, pastor, hospitality, etc. (see Romans 12:4-6; 1 Corinthians 12: 8-10, 28-29; Ephesians 4:11 and 1 Corinthians 7:7).
Our gifts and talents more often than not are connected to our purpose in life. They enable us to achieve our purpose effectively and efficiently.
REASONS WHY SOME PEOPLE ARE OBLIVIOUS OF THEIR GIFTS AND TALENTS
Having made it clear that there is a difference between natural talents and spiritual gifts, I am sure some of you may be wondering if you have either of them as you don’t seem to identify any in your life right now.
The truth is every individual is born with a talent but not every individual has spiritual gifts, even though some have both depending on their standing with God.
Therefore we all have either one or both of them but the reasons some of us are oblivious of our gifts and talents are as follows:
1. FOCUSED ON DOING OTHER THINGS OUTSIDE YOUR GIFTS AND TALENTS
One of the main reasons most people haven’t discovered their gifts or talents is because they are focused on being someone else or doing something else outside their God-given gift and talent.
Some people are bent on doing things because they see someone else doing it successfully or because of the recognition, title, or power accorded to people who do those things.
Some others focus on things they feel are most profitable based on the trend not considering if they have the ability to do them.
These are the major reasons most people fail to recognize their God-given gifts or talent or even give it a chance.
But the truth is, you will only get true satisfaction, success, and fulfillment from using your gift and talent because it is what you were called and created to do.
And I can say for a fact that even if you were allowed to do or to be what you desire which is outside of your gift and talent, it will be void of true fulfillment and satisfaction and you would most likely get frustrated in the long run.
2. EGO AND PRIDE
Pride and ego is another reason people are oblivious of their God-given gift and talent.
This set of people recognize they have special grace and abilities to do certain things but their pride and ego never allow them to consider those special abilities as their calling for the body of Christ and the fulfillment of their purpose.
For instance, we all cannot be leaders or managers or CEOs or teachers or doctors, etc. There are people God has called and given special grace and abilities to be cleaners, cooks, janitors, security guards, etc. but they never consider doing these things for public service because they feel they are demeaning.
No matter what you have been called or created to do, you will surely get true satisfaction, fulfillment, and a great reward from God. He will cause you to succeed beyond your imagination in whatever you do so far as it is His will for your life.
3. ABSENCE OF DEVELOPMENT AND IMPROVEMENT
I never knew I had the ability to write and if I was asked a few months ago I never would have mentioned it as a talent or gift.
When God laid it on my heart to start up my blog, it was a tough decision for me as I had doubts in my abilities to write but He amazingly showed me this scripture…
2 Timothy 1:6 which says, ‘’For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.’’
He also reminded me of a novella I had hand-written in my 3rd year of secondary school. It is so amazing how God brings things to our remembrance as I had forgotten I ever wrote a novella.
He told me the only way out was to develop and improve my writing skills by writing and I can humbly say I have greatly improved from when I started and I believe I will be much better as I continue to write.
So sometimes we have our gifts and talents but they are hidden from us because we have not developed or improved them.
I encourage you to ask God to show you your hidden abilities so you can fan them into flame.
HOW TO PROPERLY USE YOUR GIFTS AND TALENTS TO ACHIEVE YOUR PURPOSE AND AVOID FRUSTRATION
There are so many people who are still frustrated even though they have identified their abilities and are putting it to good use for the kingdom of God and the actualization of their purpose.
More often than not the reason for this frustration is due to improper use of these gifts and talents. But there are some practical and scriptural ways to properly and effectively use our talents and gifts which include:
1. WALKING IN HUMILITY
God detests pride and this has been emphasized countless times in the Bible.In James 4:6, the Bible says that God opposes the proud and shows favour to the humble.
Also, Romans 12:3 says, ‘’ For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”
God expects us to use our gift and talent with utmost humility because it is only through His grace we can do the things we do.
We must be careful not to think less of anyone or feel superior to anyone because of our gift and talent.
Just because we perform or exhibit our gifts and talents with ease does not mean it comes easy to everyone. It will be wrong to have high expectations or look down on people just because they cannot do things the way you do.
When we use our gift in humility, God will uplift us and take us to greater heights (see James 4:10).
2. STAYING IN YOUR LANE AND AVOIDING COMPARISON
The desire to be exactly like someone else with the same gift and talent as yours or the desire to grow too quickly is always a major cause of frustration.
We all have our unique calling and purpose irrespective of any similarities we may have with another person and God deals with each of us according to the levels of our faith, grace, and abilities. See Romans 12:6, Ephesians 4:7, and Matthew 25:14-30.
It is important to move at the same pace with God and to hear from him concerning every step to take as regards our gift and talent.
Do not plunge into any phase of your life prematurely just because you are trying to grow as fast as someone else. Wait on God for His timing and stay within His original plan for you.
God will take you to the heights He wants you to get to in due time as long as you walk in obedience and remember that whatever height he takes you is the best place for you irrespective of its level.
3. STAYING CONNECTED TO THE SOURCE
No matter what happens, always remember that the source of your gift and talent is God Almighty.
You must ensure to always stay connected to God by maintaining your relationship with Him through fellowship in prayer and study of His Word.
When you lose connection with God, things begin to go wrong. Pride will set in, distractions will come, then your faith, grace, and power levels will drop and you will eventually become frustrated.
4. USING IT FOR THE GLORY OF GOD AND THE BENEFIT OF OTHERS
Put your gift and talent to good use. Do not abuse it by using it for immoral and sinful purposes. Let your gift and talent glorify God.
In 1 Corinthians 10:31 the Bible says that whatever we do, we should do it all for the glory of God.
Also do not neglect your gift and talent by not using it. God has given it to you with the desire that you put it to good use for the benefit of others and the fulfillment of your purpose on earth.
The more you use your gift and talent the better you become at it. Also the more you use it to the glory of God the more God gives you.
The Parable of the Talents in Mathew 25:14-30 is a perfect example. God gave more to the servants who put their talents to good use.
Identifying our gifts and talents is very important for the journey of life and God is ever willing to help us identify these talents and gifts if we ask Him.
We must ensure to use our gift and talent according to God’s design and desire for us. It is a futile decision to go ahead of God to take control of your life.
We should learn to enjoy each other’s gifts and talents rather than compare or become jealous and envious. The aim for diversity in gifts and talents is to complement each other and walk as a team in love and harmony.
Submit yourself completely to God and watch Him take you to great heights.