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Managing Our Abilities
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“May I borrow your ladder?” a friend once asked. “Sure,” I replied, “Just take good care of it and return by next week.” The ladder was returned several weeks later covered with paint. Ouch.

It made me wonder how God feels when the Lord gives us gifts and abilities to use for heavenly purposes, and then we mar them with our own selfish ambitions. The Bible tells us everyone who comes to Jesus is provided special aptitudes. It might be in the area of using our hands to make things or in creating beautiful music. Some people are gifted in leading while others have the ability to sit down and deeply listen and care for hurting hearts.

Such talents are distributed to glorify God and build up the body of Christ. They are not intended to focus on ourselves, but others. They are for the “profit of all” (1 Corinthians 12:7) and for “edifying” fellow members (Ephesians 4:12). When we only exercise our talents to build up our egos or our bank accounts, we are not being good managers of what God has loaned to us.

Given to Another

The Bible teaches that when we cultivate our abilities, the Lord gives us more. Jesus once told a story of a man who gave his servants certain amounts of money to invest while he went on a long journey. When he returned, he expected each servant to be accountable for their amount of money. One employee actually buried his money. He didn’t even invest it in the bank. Everything was taken from him and given to another.

Notice Jesus’ warning: “For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away” (Matthew 25:29). Good managers of God’s gifts use their talents to bring benefits to the Lord’s work. Poor managers abuse those gifts and give them back undeveloped.

We can misuse our talents when they focus on building up our own lives. Business people can stuff their bank accounts while there is a great need for funds in the church building project. Singers can draw attention to themselves while leading worship that should focus members on the Lord. People who are good listeners can gossip about what they hear.

It’s like God loaning us a ladder and we return it covered with paint. How does the Lord feel when we don’t manage the abilities given to us? I’m determined to use my gifts to build up the work of heaven. How about you?

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By Curtis Rittenour. Copyright © 2013 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelinesScripture taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION © 1982.

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