1 Peter 4:10-11


          Isn't it nice to be able to take some time just for fun--to be able to be silly just for the sake of being silly?  It is good for us to laugh.   In the book of Proverbs we learn that: "A happy heart makes the face cheerful . . . the cheerful heart has a continual feast . . . A merry heart does good like a medicine" (Prov. 15:13, 15, 17:22).  I can remember being in several talent shows when I was a kid – one where I wore a huge bow tie and lip-synched some silly song.  I was even in a few shows like that as an adult; well, not wearing the huge bow tie.  We have even had some talent shows at church.  Some people may not think of singing or dancing or telling jokes at a talent show as ministry, but it is!  It is all part of Christ's provision to keep His body healthy and growing.


          Talent is a very interesting thing.  As many of you know, I taught for several years in a college music department.  During that time, I became a pretty good judge of talent.  But in spite of that I never really figured out a way to predict success.  That is because talent, even tremendous talent, doesn't automatically lead to success.  Talent is potential; it is the ability to learn something quickly.  Success, on the other hand, depends on skill and knowledge and desire. Success comes when talent is applied.  It takes hard work and dedication to turn talent into skill.  For musicians we are talking about hours and hours in a practice room doing drills and playing etudes; hours and hours studying history and theory and literature.  Similar things are true in all disciplines. 


          At this point I need to remind you that talent is not self-generated; it is a gift of God.  And, as we all know, God does not give gifts without purpose.  And God’s purpose is important, even if it is only to make someone’s heart merry for an hour.  Our job is to recognize God's gifts – both talents and spiritual gifts – and then put them to use.  When we do, the whole body of Christ becomes stronger and God gets the glory!   Consider what the apostle Peter wrote:  “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever” (1 Pet. 4:10-11). 


          I am here to testify that the church of Jesus Christ is a tremendously gifted and talented group of people. But do you think that any of that talent and giftedness might be hidden away?  You know, when you go to see a talent show not all the talent is onstage.  Some of it is sitting in the audience.  Some of it is at home.  Do you think that there are still gifts that Christ has placed within the church you attend that, if put to use, would edify the church and make it even more effective in doing ministry?  I don't know the answer.  I do know that the "harvest is plentiful," and that every gift and talent we have needs to be put to use in the cause of Christ.


Pastor Keith Andrews