Unremarkable Talent

I have grown to prefer the regular rhythms of my day. I have my little, unchanging list of morning routines—walk the dog, feed the cat and the dog, make the coffee, open the curtains, spread the birdseed on the deck. And then, not long after the mug is steaming with coffee and the day has dawned, I sit down at my laptop and determine what will be the least attention-grabbing thing to do and I do that first.

Three children hiding behind rocks in forest

There was a time when making sure people knew how smart I was and what I’ve accomplished at the top of a little kingdom within evangelicalism was the sustenance of my contentment and happiness. But we all know the lie that is. There is no such thing as enduring happiness or contentment in self-worship, and tamping down any attention to talent became, in time, a new kind of sustenance. 

What thrills me now is efficiency, the virtue of constancy, and the dependability of anonymity.

I crouch behind the unremarkable because it is reliable, and reliable is safe. Reliable and unremarkable won’t ebb and flow. It’s steady, numbingly so. I could bury my head in my arms and go to sleep, never having to be challenged by temptation, never having to risk my talent being misapplied, or misconstrued, or misused. Never having to answer the question about how I employed it.

Every one of us has received a gift from God, a talent, or two or three, and we are exhorted to use it to serve one another, as good stewards of his varied grace. (1 Peter 4:10). Jesus has determined and assigned for us the work we should do. It may appear unworthy or mundane, but it is a good calling. It may seem to be high-profile and impressive, but all the work is equal on his scales.

Jesus says to expect change in the Christian life. Being off balance is the foundation for dependence on God. Trust in the Spirit is cultivated in the field of uncertainty. 

This is what we have been prepared for, according to Ephesians 2:10, so that as his workmanship, created in Christ for good works, might walk in those works. Walk. Not sleep. Not be buried or hiding or slothful. But walking as new creatures, bearing fruit, with some good harvests and some scarcity—all according to his always merciful and wise judgment. It is foolish and ungodly to presume we can sleep until the Master’s return, and it is ethical and faithful to wait and prepare for the kingdom by putting our gifts to use for his glory now.

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