Attending a Jonathan McReynolds concert at Brooklyn Tabernacle in Brooklyn, New York set the stage for a personal discovery of what God does with our talents and His good desires for us. The blend of creative flow, comedic timing, Chicago-style poise, God-given talent and man-developed skill was inspiring. Here are the questions his performance provoked:
1. What talents have you been given? Is fashion, math, game design, baking arts, sales, child care/youth development, elder care, research, surgery, science, public speaking, hospitality, debate, cosmetology, interior design, fitness, home décor, house cleaning, poetry and/or dance special areas of gifting?
2. How can God use that talent to glorify His name?
Here are 7 practical suggestions to allow God to make the most of your talent:
Seek God Early - Why not make time for God in the morning? Before you re-post, text, like or snap take a few moments to pray. Confess areas of known sin. Thank Him for granting you another day and ask that He would give you the grace to obey and to walk where and how He walks today. Ask Him to use His word to grow your understanding of who He is - even if you commit to reading and meditating on one verse or chapter a day (the Proverbs, Psalms and the Gospels are great places to start!).
In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. – Psalm 5:3 NIV
Appreciate Each Day – Whether you are going to school, taking a Saturday to be with friends or heading to church, no day is promised to us; each day is a gift. Ask God for specific wisdom to make the most of each day, each opportunity and each moment for His glory.
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. – Psalm 90:12 NIV
Pray for Personal Guidance and Pray for Others (and when you’re done pray some more) - Prayer is a commitment to remain in constant communication with our good Father. Why not pray for direction for ourselves and for our brothers and sisters? There is much to pray for (watch five minutes of the news and see). The Body of Christ, the world and I need your prayers.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people. – Ephesians 6:18 NIV
Monitor, Check, Rebuke and Correct Your Thoughts, Moment by Moment - Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.” With our destinies at stake, we have reason to give serious thought to every single thought. When you feel yourself thinking thoughts of jealousy, anxiety, envy, hopelessness, pride, desperation, one by one rebuke them in Jesus’ name and replace them - ask God to give you a verse from His word that supersedes a thought that may be true but is not The Truth.
Here is an example, rather than thinking about someone else as more talented, beautiful, intelligent than we are – meditate on and ask for the faith to believe, “The Lord is my shepherd I have all I need,” (Psalm 23:1 NIV). With Him, you truly do not lack any good thing.
Seek Opportunities to Serve Others and Glorify God with Your Time and Talent– as we commit to serving others with the love and compassion of Christ, God meets our needs in unexpected ways. When we lose ourselves in the desire to serve others we experience exponential personal and spiritual growth.
“Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Matthew 20:26-27 NIV
Take Nothing For Granted – When we went to bed last night there was no guarantee that we would awake today. And yet we have. For this reason, we cannot boast as if we know what another day, hour or moment will bring.
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why? You do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” – James 4:13-15 NIV
Take Yourself Less Seriously – as serious as each day is, we ourselves are here for a brief period, we are all fragile, we all fall short and by design, we are far from perfect. Placing ourselves amidst the equality of the ordinary is liberating. We are not the most intelligent, beautiful, best-at-everything force in the entire universe. God alone is.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. – Philippians 2:6-7 NIV
As Jonathan McReynolds closed his set he confidently and joyfully sang, “Even with pimples on my face….God, I thank you for always loving me!” And God does. We are loved beyond measure whether or not our talent leads us to a national stage or back in front of your bathroom mirror. The giver of our talent desires that we pursue Him, not our talent. Check out one of my favorite Jonathan McReynolds songs here and keep up with him @jonmcreynolds.
Amelia E. Thompson loves to see God create possibility out of what appears to be impossible. She became a Christian during her sophomore year in college. She and friends developed We Write Life into a platform for building community around issues of justice, reconciliation and forgiveness. Thanks to God’s guidance and kindness, she completed studies at Vassar College and St. John’s University and is completing a certificate in Youth and Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary.