Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.
Why Does My Talent Matter?
Have you ever felt like your gift is worthless or that your talent goes unnoticed? Well, I’ve got news for you.
It matters because those talents are given to you by God for a reason and even if no one else sees it, God sees it and He cares.
When we waste our talents by letting them go unused or give substandard work to our bosses, it dishonors God…even if we think that our job is low and degrading we can be a light wherever God has placed us.
How we act at our workplace should be a reflection of our respect and attitude toward God. Likewise, when we take notice of that special set of skills that God has given us and start to invest in honing that gift, it is likely that The Lord will make that known.
BUT even if He doesn’t that should not stop us from giving 100% because we as Christians are already standing before and working on behalf of THE King and it is He who has given us each unique skills and abilities to provide for others.
As Pastor John Piper says in his article on Glorifying God at Work:
“Be absolutely and meticulously honest and trustworthy on the job. Be on time. Give a full day’s work. “Thou shalt not steal.” More people rob their employers by being slackers than by filching the petty cash.”
Another way that Piper noted we can honor God in our workplace is:
“As you have influence and opportunity, shape the ethos of the workplace so that the structures and policies and expectations and aims move toward accordance with Christ.”
We are called to work
Starting from the garden: God gave us the command to cultivate the land, to rule, and to have dominion over the creatures of the Earth (Genesis 1:28, Genesis 2:15). This was God’s call to us but, He didn’t just call us to work and say figure it out on your own, He gave us the talents to do our task. Even from the earliest days this is/was true.
Take for example the trades of Agriculture and Livestock. We see waaaaayyy back in Genesis 4 that Adam’s sons (after being exiled from the garden) are doing just that. And I’d wager there were no farming schools or agriculture classes at that time.
And another example of talents being something God gives us is seen in the tribes Jabal who “developed the craft of tent-making” and further devolved the trade of livestock, Jubal who is known as “the father of all who play stringed instruments and pipes” as they developed a way to express emotion through music by creating instruments, as well as Tubal-Cain who, “forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron”. See Genesis 4:19-22
Cultivating our God-given skills
One of the keys to honoring God with the talents He has given us is by working to develop them. We do no honor to our Creator when we just sit on our skills leaving them as good enough or worse yet when we place them on a shelf to collect dust.
As Desiring God Co-Founder Jon Bloom states:
“You have been given talents. They are valued very highly by the Lord. What are you doing with them? Let this question sober you and liberate you. For to every servant who is faithful with the talents entrusted to him, the Master will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25:23). This is what we want to hear.”
We should be invested in whatever God has given us the ability to do! This does not mean that passions won’t change or that interests won’t fade. But what it does mean is that whatever skill God has given us whether it is for a lifetime or just a season, we should be honoring God by developing that talent.
There is a downside though
When our talents are used for selfish gain rather than pleasing God they tend to lead to destruction. For example, Cain was banished as a result of His attitude…and his decedents became a tribe filled with evil people.
This is why we must be careful not to let our sin nature overtake our God-given skills and abilities.
However, the opposite is true when we are using our gifts to please God and honor Him. We see from (1 Kings 5 and 2 Chronicles 2) that The Sidonians under King Hiram were called by God to use their skills to serve not only the earthly King Solomon but the Heavenly King YHWH by supplying the needed materials for the temple.
Not only them but in Exodus 31:1-5 we see God calling and enabling Bezalel (who up until that point was going about his everyday life as an artisan) to craft large portions of the Tabernacle that Moses would use generations before!!
The Heart of God in Working
The heart of God in using our talents and abilities is to honor Him as the gift giver. We do this primarily by utilizing them and building up the world and others through them. This can be done whether you are an Architect designing a structurally sound commercial center or an Artist carefully adding beauty to canvas to inspire and stir emotion into someone else.
Frank Myrland’s article entitled Do I use my talents to bless or to impress? states a wonderful reminder for all of us:
“When my time comes to meet my Creator, my talents will fall away, but the results of living in obedience to His laws will stand as an eternal testimony. In the end, what matters is how I serve God and am well-pleasing to Him and, in serving God, what I do with what I have been given. May my life be a life lived to God’s glory, a life full of heavenly content and blessing!”
Everything we do should ultimately be done in a way that will honor God and build up others. You, me, all of us can be a blessing in our workplace today.
If you’re having trouble finding your passion in work or it has just lost its shine check out this podcast for some encouragement!