3 Lessons for Using Your Abilities

by John & Jannon Fitzpatrick

Recently, Jannon and I did a series at Uprising on the abilities and talents that God has given each of us. We would like to share a little of what we shared on Wednesday nights, with you.

If I were to ask you to give me a list of your abilities or talents, would you be able to confidently give me a list? Or would you tell me that you feel like you have no abilities or talents?  Many of us struggle with thinking that we have no abilities or talents. I have felt this way about myself at times, my wife has felt this way about herself, too.

When I went to Bible College everyone there could sing, play an instrument, act and here I was afraid to even talk in front of people. I could pretty easily talk to people one on one or even go up to a stranger and make conversation, but I thought anyone could do that. In a smaller setting with a few friends I could make people laugh or bring encouragement to people who were down, but that wasn’t an ability from God, right? My wife is good at typing and organizing but she thought that’s not a talent.  Anyone can type on a computer; anyone can do office work, right?  In our minds, we thought the real talents were to be able to sing, play the guitar or piano, being artistic, having crazy athletic ability, or some of the more obvious outward talents.  But we both have learned that while these ARE all talents that God gives, they are not the ONLY gifts or abilities that He gives.  It took us both a long time to figure that out. It was only through spending time in God’s Word and serving in the church, that we found out that God did give us gifts and talents and it’s okay to acknowledge that. 

So when we talk about abilities, what are we talking about?  The dictionary describes abilities as talent, skill, or expertise in a given area.  Let’s look at what the Bible has to say about abilities…

1 Peter 4:10-11 NLT “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. 11 Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ.”

As we can see in this verse, God has a great variety of gifts that he has to give! This means that gifts are not just limited to a few outward and obvious gifts. 

So based on this scripture, we’re going to look at 3 specific things that God has to say about the Abilities He’s given us.

  1. Every single person has a gift or ability given to them by God!

    Let’s look at 1 Peter 4:10, where it says God has given EACH OF US a gift.  EACH of us means NO ONE is excluded…

    Jeremiah 1:5 NLT  “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”

    Just like God knew Jeremiah before he was born, God also knew YOU before YOU were born. He set YOU apart and gave YOU gifts and abilities!  Sometimes those abilities are more upfront things like preaching, singing, playing musical instruments, being good at art, or sports, but other times, these gifts are what we see in

    1 Corinthians 12:8-11, where Paul mentions other things as being gifts such as:  giving wise advice, special knowledge, special faith, and proclaiming truth.  Other gifts mentioned in the Bible are gifts of administration, the ability to encourage others, and helping others when they’re down…all of these things are gifts, too!

    So say this with me:  God has given me, abilities and talents, that are uniquely my own, to use for His glory. So, now that we see that ALL of us have God-given abilities on the inside of us, how do we figure out what these abilities are?

     

  2. We find our abilities by serving others!  

    Going back to 1 Peter 4:10 again, it says to Use the gifts to SERVE one another. We start off with serving.  Having a servant’s heart is simply finding out what needs to be done and working to do it.  It’s through the SERVING in different areas that we find out what we’re drawn to or what we have abilities in.  The Bible says in Proverbs 18:16 A man's gift makes room for him and brings him before great men.  In other words, as we are serving and helping others, God will open doors before us to allow the gifts he’s placed on the inside of us to come out.

     

  3. We are responsible to use and develop our abilities.

     1 Peter encourages us to use our abilities with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything we do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. No matter what gifts or abilities we have, we know that each one is given by the Holy Spirit.  Every gift or ability is important and has great value.  We are responsible to use and sharpen our gifts in order to honor God.  God gives the talent, but it’s up to us to work at it to help it mature and grow. The Bible says, If we are faithful with the small things, we can be trusted with bigger things.

    Most of us have probably heard the Parable of the Talents found in Matthew 25:14-30. An owner was going away, so he entrusted his things to different people.  The owner gave 5 talents to one person, 2 to another, and 1 to another.  The person with 5 and the person with the 2 talents worked at it and doubled their talents. But the person with 1 talent was full of fear and was lazy, so he buried his talent and did nothing with it.   When the owner came back, he was proud of the men with 5 & 2 talents, but he rebuked the man who buried the one because he had done nothing to develop his talent.

    So, as we can see through this parable, it’s not how MANY talents we have, it’s what we do with the specific talents that God has given us.  It’s easy for me to look at others and see the many things their good at.  We could spend our whole life trying to be good at everything that others are good at, while ignoring the abilities that God has placed inside of us.  But when we stand before God, he’s only going to look at what we did with what he gave US, not what we did with what He gave someone else. We are only responsible for recognizing and developing the individual abilities that God has given us.  God will not hold us responsible for other people’s gifts or abilities. 

    So, we have a choice to make.  Are we going to be like the man who buried his talent because he was lazy and afraid, and embarrassed because he felt it wasn’t as good as someone else’s?  Or are we going to be like the men who recognized the talents and abilities that God had given them, and work hard to learn, study, and grow those talents so we can multiply them and use them for God’s glory?

    Let’s decide to take God at His Word and trust that whether we see it right now or not, God HAS given EACH of us abilities.  Let’s SERVE one another and allow those abilities to come to the surface, and let’s work hard to DEVELOP those abilities by working at them, being thankful for them, and being faithful even in the small, seemingly insignificant things!