1 Peter 4:10-11

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so 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 for ever and ever. Amen.”

reflect

By age 14, Michelangelo’s genius as a sculptor was evident, and he was invited to study under Bertoldo di Giovanni, a talented sculptor in his own right who was a pupil of Donatello, a name we all recognize.

According to Gary Inrig’s book, “A Call to Excellence,” Giovanni knew that gifted people sometimes coast through life, and he pressured Michelangelo to be the best he could be.

One day Giovanni walked into the studio and found Michelangelo toying around with a piece of marble. Thinking the project was beneath his star pupil’s abilities, Giovanni grabbed a hammer and smashed the marble. Looking Michelangelo squarely in the eyes, Giovanni said, “Talent is cheap; dedication is expensive. It will cost you your life.”

All of us have been given gifts and abilities from God. It takes hard work and dedication to develop our talents to their fullest measure.

The French philosopher Voltaire once said, “Shun idleness. It is a rust that attaches itself to the most brilliant metals.”

If idleness dulls us, having good, Godly friends will sharpen us: “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).

We can coast by on the path of least resistance, or we can strive to grow each day.

Jesus said, “‘From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked’” (Luke 12:48).

Are you a teacher? Be a teacher your students never will forget. Do you own your own company? Be the boss who sets a Godly example. Are you a sales person? Be the account rep who always exceeds expectations.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” (Colossians 3:23).

We can use our talents to further the Kingdom, or we can use them to further our own ambitions—or we can choose not to use them at all. The choice is ours.

The late, great opera singer Beverly Sills once said, “There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.”

react

>What are your three greatest talents and how can you use them for the Lord?

>Why is dedication difficult?

>What is the biggest hindrance to being the best that you can be?