Closely connected to the idea of time is the talents and abilities we each have. Often is the the “wow” of a person’s abilities that catches attention. Unfortunately it is not the ability that is the downfall for many, but the poor character of the individual. Throughout the Bible we see example after example of people who were ordinary, that when empowered by God, do extraordinary feats of faith. Of course this may happen in a few lines over a chapter or two in scripture, while in the life of the figure it took seasons or even years of time.
Development towards any goal comes in steps. A wonderful example of this is the process that happens in the life of King David. His heart was turned towards God even before he was anyone. The steps of faith and experience he lived refined his talent. It was on these steps that he was able to have faith for big things; like facing a giant…
The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.” (1 Samuel 17:37 NIV)
Do not forsake the steps in refining your talent and character. Even David learned a hard lesson when he departed from a heart focused on God.
One of the best examples of a person being stretched in their faith and character is Peter. A rough fisherman becomes the leader of the church; an amazing story. The process for Peter was anything but smooth. However, no one can deny that he took initiative in stepping out in faith. He talent to lead and courage to take risk helped him to stretch..
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:28, 29, 31 NIV)
The process of refining character is a stretch, but we need a system to make the stretching not just a one-time event. If we want to truly use our talents for God, we must stretch ourselves by putting them to work.
Practice makes perfect. It is an old adage, but a good one. It applies to all of us. We must put a system in place to grow in our talents and abilities while stretching our character development as well. There is no better system for becoming better than to put the talents to work. This is not always an easy task. Many times we may face difficulty.
We are reminded by Peter that the difficulties we face are a refining part of the experience.
In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:6, 7 NIV)
It is in this refining that we are made for the better.
Steps forward. Stretch your faith. System at work.
Will you take the challenge?