Our pastor is encouraging us to look for our talents to use for Christ. I do not consider myself a particularly talented person. I’m okay at a lot of things, but not really a master at any. I have never known exactly how I was supposed to serve Christ using my talents, and now that I realize I have no idea what they are, I understand why using them has been so hard. So Dennis and I are on a journey to figure out where we need to serve the Lord and how. That led us, of course, to the Bible and Dennis asked a question I hadn’t thought about but that I think is underlying in most beliefs about Christianity: can you use a talent you enjoy to serve God, or does it have to be something you hate, therefore making it a hurtful, hard experience to prove you’re willing to do it for God?
I immediately said that I thought this idea of serving God hurting was just the guilt we had been raised with from church. I have no problem with organized religion and think that the fellowship and growth with other Christians is a vital part of the Christian walk. However, I was raised around a lot of church people telling me, “if it feels good, it’s of the devil.” God is depicted in the Bible as many things, but joyous and someone who wants His children to be joyous is there, though it was not discussed much in the churches of my youth. So to me, this was just us trying to attach non-Biblical junk to something that wasn’t meant to be that hard. However, Dennis brought up two very Biblical examples of where I might be wrong: Moses and Jonah. I’m not a Biblical scholar, but the short me version is Moses didn’t want to be a speaker, but God said that’s what he was supposed to do. Moses did it, but it wasn’t his first choice. Jonah refused to use his talent the way God said so he got to visit the inside of a whale. I’m sure if Jonah had enjoyed using his talent this wouldn’t have been an issue. However, he didn’t, so the calling was painful and the persuasion process God used to get his attention was even more dramatic.
This is timely, as is pretty much every thing God is laying in front of my lately. I am struggling right now with not just Biblical talents but professional ones. I have been building a business on the side for a company I love and will always be a customer of. I enjoy building the business, but it requires networking which I don’t consider myself particularly good at or familiar with. That’s made it a challenge, and sometimes it hurts. However, I’ve soldiered forward because it offers an opportunity to be home with my kids making as much or more than I do now. But it also requires I do some things that make me uncomfortable. So is God calling me to do this so He can see me through it or not?
The answer to that question didn’t seem nearly so elusive until another opportunity was presented, one I’ve been reluctant to even discuss because the thought of it makes me so happy that I don’t want to jinx it just by thinking about it. In fact, I still talk about it in vague terms as not to jinx myself, so forgive me for my paranoia. I found a job that would be more home-based. Actually, a friend blessed me with this information last year, and I was sure no job openings would ever become available so I put it out of my mind. But jobs did become available, I applied, and then I received a link to take an assessment to begin the possible recruiting process. Then, nothing. Does that mean no job for me? Is this just a slow process? I don’t know, but the possibility is out there; the possibility of doing a job that I’ve had experience in, a job I’ve had some level of success in, a talent that doesn’t hurt. So, can it be real? Or is Dennis right: are we only called to use talents that are painful, talents that stretch us, talents that the Lord has to lead us through because they aren’t what we enjoy or find natural? And if so, why?
So for now, mystery unsolved. I’m hoping to have a Wren “That’s Jesus” moment and just see Him and the answer. I do believe God wants us to be happy, though that’s not always possible living in a fallen world. I don’t buy into the whole wealth, health, and only good things because I’m a Christian lifestyle that so many people are trying to sell now. However, I don’t think God puts things on my doorstep to make me cringe. I know He knows how much I would love the easier, already-know-how-to-do job. It’s up to Him, and that means it’s not up to me or anywhere in my control. Now that hurts, but it’s comforting too.