“What is the richest place in the entire world?” A missionary asked during a Sunday morning service.
As I pondered the question with possibilities like Dubai, Martha’s Vineyard, or Jupiter Florida…his quiet answer puzzled me.
He said “The richest place in the entire world is the graveyard.” I quickly assumed that he must be talking about people who were buried with treasure like the pharaoh’s, so his next comment stopped me cold.
He said “The reason the richest place is the graveyard is because so many people die without ever using their gifts and talents and they are tragically lost for all eternity.” He had gained my full attention and I began to understand the deep truth in what he said.
How many of us devalue our gifts or even despise them? There are many of us that don’t even know what our gifts are but rest assured, we all have them. We may not become famous actors or musicians; we may not become entrepreneurs like Donald Trump or Bill Gates, but just the same, we all have at least one gift or talent. That gift no matter how small, will add a flavor to the world that only we can provide; a piece of a puzzle that will be incomplete unless we offer our gift fully and completely.
Some have the ability to inspire and encourage others but write that gift off as unimportant. The truth is, an encouraging word can bring hope to a doubting and troubled heart. Words of inspiration can literally change the course of history. Some have a talent for music, if that’s you then take every opportunity to use and develop your skill. Think about it, there isn’t a human alive that isn’t touched in some way by music. The same goes for creative talents of all kinds, use them; develop them; use them and do not be discouraged if you run into obstacles because… you will. If your gift is giving and serving others, then give and serve with all your heart; the simplest act of kindness can soften the hardest of hearts. Is your gift leadership or teaching? Then see to it that you lead and teach with passion because you have the power to impact generations.
Rare is the gift that needs no cultivation, so if your gift is a diamond in the rough polish it and work it until it shines with beauty. It’s important to develop our gifts without giving up because who knows what God has in store if we will only be faithful with even the smallest of gifts.
Whatever your gift or talent may be, don’t allow it to be buried with you. See to it that your gifts are used up without fear and poured out on this world fully because you never know just how important your impact will be.
By Rhonda Shelford Jansen
As an adult, have you ever felt invisible in a social setting? I know this is a feeling most of us don’t want to acknowledge. In fact, many may only admit having felt invisible in a social setting quietly inside their own mind. This is where the hurt feelings and sense of being devalued are safely wrestled with and where the significance of our own person is weighed against the insignificant feeling of invisibility.
Often, we who feel invisible spend too much time contemplating the motives of the those who look right through us and this introspection increases our feeling of insecurity. It would be nice to assign one motive to all who instigate the invisible condition, but the truth is there isn’t one reason but as many reasons as there are instigator of invisibility. Some may be so focused on their own social success that they ignore polite introductions or including others in the conversation. Others may not want any attention directed away from themselves or their antics, or they may be innocently gabbing without an ounce of malice. Of course, there is always the basic human condition of not liking the person they are inflicting the invisible condition on.
Whatever the motive of the instigator really is, isn’t the issue; in fact it’s not important. What is important is how we choose to deal with our hurt and devalued feelings that are the natural byproduct of feeling invisible. We mustn’t waste our precious emotional energy trying to figure out other’s motives; we need to focus in on our own. We must choose to acknowledge our God given value and that He has a purpose for our lives. One of the most important facts to remember is that you are loved; always be grateful for those who truly love you.
Remember that you are God’s creation and he loves and values you. This is not a platitude, He not only loves you but He has blessed you with unique talents, skills, and gifts that are to be shared with others and it’s your and my responsibility to not let difficult social moments grow into self doubt that can stop our creativity. The value of your life is not measured by the fickle minds of simple humans, your value is set in gold by almighty God. Your value is priceless in the eyes of our Never Changing God.
Remember that the actions of another will only have the power in our lives that we give it permission to have. If we choose to focus on our hurt feelings and hyper focus on the motives of the instigators our creative energy will be stifled. Our prayers will be hindered by our negative thought pattern that naturally will turn inward in a self focused and protective way. When our thoughts are focused inward it’s hard to give to others, it’s hard to be thoughtful, and it’s hard to be generous and caring.
So, the next time you are in a social setting and you feel invisible remember God sees you and He hears your prayers and He cares about you. Remember that you have a greater purpose in this life that needs to be actively perused and negative, hurt feelings can hinder your progress. Remember that the instigators are simple, imperfect humans who need your grace and forgiveness and God will help you give it.
Debar Shelford Hobbs