Larissa, Kristen, Beth, Marc, Steve, David, and Nancy. These are the people in my small circle of friends who write better than I do.
Yet here I am with a writing job at WORLD, while they are, respectively, a missionary, physical therapist, National Book Award finalist, pastor, pastor, contractor, and interpreter for the deaf. (OK, the author in the middle messes up my point.)
The question of gifts arises. What is a “gift”? Is it your talent? Or is it the fact that you have the job? The word “gift” is ambiguous. You can marvel at a person’s artwork and say, “What a gift!” But you can also marvel that an average person has been privileged with a plum job.
Why would God give a person that plum job when there are more talented people around? Beats me. Maybe He has something to teach that modestly gifted person about learning to trust Him. Or maybe if that person had more talent she would be insufferable. Or maybe she would grow autonomous from God and not spent time on her knees. God is interested in our sanctification, not in having our name in lights. God gave the Apostle Paul unique revelations of heaven—and then a thorn in the flesh to keep him from being too “elated.”
In Matthew 25:14-30 a master going on a long trip entrusts three servants with money to invest while he’s away. He does not dispense equal amounts. The underdog lover in us wants the story to end as follows: The two who have a lot to work with are proud and lazy and squander it, while the man given a little invests his little and is praised.
But that’s not what happens. The two men with the larger endowment do well, but the man with the little does nothing. Why? We can only speculate. He blames the master’s harshness. But can it be that he spent all his time wishin’ and whinin’ about his middling gift, and he decided that if he couldn’t have the best gift, he wasn’t even going to try?
Let us work hard with the measure we have. God never called us to be anything but faithful.