What are We Doing with Our Talents and Gifts?

MaryAnn Ward - Blog Post - Talents and Gifts

One of the most revealing indicators of our vision and self-identity shows through what we do with our God-given talents and gifts. Romans 11:29 tells us that “God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.” He never voids His gifts. Once given, He allows us to choose what we will do with the talents and gifts He has given to us.

In context, this verse speaks about God’s gift of salvation, but the principle applies to all His gifts.

“For the gifts and his call are irrevocable. Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you”
Romans 11:29-31

I’ve highlighted two repetitive words — disobedience and mercy. When it comes to our God-given gifts, most of us can relate to both of these terms.

MaryAnn Ward - Blog - Gift

Shining Example

Although a recent incident brought this principle to light, I have been pondering this truth for some time. Let’s spotlight one shining example of disobedience and mercy — Moses’ brother Aaron.

God called Moses up Mount Sinai to teach him all the principles of worshipping God and living in healthy community with others. God took all the time He needed to make sure Moses understood each detail, writing them on two tablets of stone as perpetual reminders for everyone.

Aaron, who God had gifted with leadership ability, was left in charge of the people below. Eventually, they all grew tired of waiting for Moses and God. So, Aaron used His God-given talents and gifts to lead the people into idol worship!

“(Aaron) took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.'”
Exodus 32:4

What! How could anyone go so far wrong? But wait! Remember those two words — disobedience and mercy. As great as Aaron’s disobedience, God’s mercy was more.

Later in Leviticus 8, we see the ordination of Aaron and his sons as priests. Now, His God-given leadership brought the people into true worship. Aaron acknowledged his God-given talents and gifts, using them to bring people to God instead of steering them away from Him.

In mercy, God refused to disqualify Aaron for his blatant failure. His gift of spiritual leadership to Aaron was “irrevocable.”

MaryAnn Ward - Gift - Time

God-Gifts

Few of us have failed God as miserably as Aaron did. But we all have experienced our share of failure and God’s mercy. The Bible offers many accounts of people who received second chances to use their talents and gifts for God’s glory and Kingdom purposes. But, more important, we also see many people who walk out their faith with unwavering, wholehearted devotion.

“Every gift God freely gives us is good and perfect, streaming down from the Father of lights, who shines from the heavens with no hidden shadow or darkness and is never subject of change.”
James 1:17 TPT

Many people find it difficult to discern their God-gifts. Others know their talents but live in frustration — unsure of how to use them.

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
1 Peter 4:10

Perhaps, like me, you find the greatest hurdle to overcome is the temptation to use God-gifts for personal pleasure or advantage. We need the Holy Spirit to search our hearts and reveal impure motives. God gives His gifts for one purpose — to serve others.

MaryAnn Ward - Share - Gifts

Serve Others

We may often overlook the obvious while aiming toward the ambiguous. Let’s consider a few gifts we have all received.

  • The gift of time. This moment is a gift. Will we serve God with wholehearted devotion, consecrating our time as belonging to Him? The stewarding of our time reveals how well we steward other gifts.
  • The gift of relationship. Who are the people God has planted around us? How can we use our gifts to invest in those relationships for their good and God’s glory?
  • What inherent talents do we possess — working with numbers, leadership, servanthood, baking, caring for children, teaching, creativity, …. ? The list is endless! We don’t need to dig deep in our search. What do we enjoy and do well?
  • Ask God! His list may look quite different from ours. Let’s also ask Him how we may better use our talents to serve His purposes.

Though God will never take His gifts from us, we have an opportunity to daily surrender them back to His full control. As we surrender our God-given talents and gifts back to Him, He will do profound things in and through us.

MaryAnn Ward - Gift - Serve Others

Prayer

Father, I thank You for Your gracious and beautiful gifts. Forgive me for, like Aaron, using them in ways that have brought harm instead of good. I confess that I have used them for my own satisfaction and gain. I thank You for your amazing mercy and a new opportunity to use these talents and gifts for Your service. May I steward Your gifts well. Nothing can hinder Your purpose in and through these talents and gifts which You have embedded in me. I surrender them to You to be used when, where, and how You so design. Fill my heart with overflowing gratitude for Your gracious gifts. May I assume responsibility to develop and perfect them. Thank you, Lord, for Your good and perfect gifts.

**********

Releasing Creative Christian Artisans

Releasing Creative Christian Artisans

Twenty years ago, a cluster of women prayed together, calling forth and releasing creative Christian artisans to their God-given destiny. Multiple other clusters were doing the same. Since that time, an explosion of Christian artists in multiple streams have risen to fame. They are surging to the forefront, using their gifts and talents to bring glory to God.

Though it might appear new, the Bible, which was written centuries ago, applauds the value of artisans. We find the most famous accounts during the building of the Tabernacle in the wilderness and Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem.

Creation

God set the ultimate example of creativity when He spoke all creation into existence. In six days, God created the most magnificent of diversity — from the expansive heavens to the most intricate of organisms. Each functioning in perfect harmony and design with all others.

“Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.”
Genesis 2:1

It took Leonardo da Vinci sixteen years to paint the Mona Lisa. The construction of the Notre Dame Cathedral spanned two hundred years, beginning in the 12th century.

Creative artisans the world over understand the painstaking labor of transferring internal imagery to tangible results. Yet, our Creator God released each element with ease in spectacular fashion.

How daunting, as creative artisans, to reflect our Creator through architecture, sculpture, music, poetry, paint, and more.

Oh, how I wish I could have witnessed His awesome splendor expressed in every detail of creation — to watch as heaven and earth exploded with brilliant light and vibrant color and as life streamed out the darkness.

The Tabernacle

On Mount Sinai, God instructed Moses to release creative artisans: perfumers, weavers, tentmakers, metal and wood workers, jewellers, and more — each skilled to work in intricate designs.

“All who are skilled among you are to come and make everything the LORD has commanded:”
Exodus 35:10

Bible versions express this passage in different ways calling these workers “gifted craftsmen,” “skilled and talented,” “gifted artisans,” and even “wise hearted.” Moses called out artisans from within the vast community of several million people — young and old, male and female — releasing creative artisans into active service.

Even today, the complexity of the design would be difficult for craftsmen and artists to replicate even with modern technology. These sandalled artists came with meager tools. Yet, their creative genius pulsed within them to create a worthy dwelling for the LORD Most High.

Two men led the troop of creative artisans, Bezalel and Oholiab.

“So Bezalel, Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the LORD has given skill and ability to know how to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary are to do the work just as the LORD has commanded.”
Exodus 36:1

Every artist possesses the God-given “skill and ability to know how to carry out all” the creative processes. Yes, artists train and hone skills. They collaborate and construct. However, God imparts the “know how” to get it done.

The Temple

David desired to build a temple for God — a place where God would permanently dwell. He possessed the right heart. However, his son, Solomon, would be the one to carry out the plans. David designed the details and gathered the material, making massive preparations. He commanded Solomon,

“You have many workers: stonecutters, masons and carpenters, as well as those skilled in every kind of work in gold and silver, bronze and iron — craftsmen beyond number. Now begin the work, and the LORD be with you.”
1 Chronicles 22:15-16

Early in the process, Solomon sent a letter to the king of Tyre requesting cedar logs for the temple. The king responded generously!

“I am sending you Huram-Abi a man of great skill . . . He is trained to work in gold and silver, bronze and iron, stone and wood, and with purple and blue and crimson yarn and fine linen. He is experienced in all kinds of engraving and can execute any design given to him. He will work with your skilled workers . . .”
2 Chronicles 2:13-14

A foreign king sent his very best craftsman to oversee the work of the temple — a man “of great skill” or “endowed with understanding” who could “execute any design given to him.” Amazing! Huram-Abi, an otherwise unknown man, came prepared, trained, experienced, and ready to be released as one of God’s creative artisans.

Musicians

The magnitude of the task was incredible. Tens of thousands of workers achieved the goal in seven years, building and preparing the temple for God’s habitation.

Finally, when all was ready, the musicians stepped forward, “dressed in fine linen and playing cymbals, harps and lyres . . . accompanied by 120 priests sounding trumpets” (2 Chronicles 5:12) Can you imagine? I can’t! But there was more!

“Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, the singers raised their voices in praise to the LORD and sang: ‘He is good; His love endures forever.’ Then the temple of the LORD was filled with the cloud . . . for the glory of the LORD filled the temple.”
2 Chronicles 5:13

God refused to listen from far away. He joined the celebration, filling the temple with His Presence!

High Value

The solitary work of creative artisans gives the impression that their impact may be insignificant. I cannot image a world without music and the amazing diversity of creative expression.

Throughout the ages, victorious armies often confiscated works of art, stripping defeated nations of literature, paintings, sculptures, and artistry embedded in precious metals. Palaces, museums, and even private homes were ransacked of valuables.

The Bible tells how Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, went even further.

“The king of Babylon also deported to Babylon the entire force of seven thousand fighting men, strong and fit for war, and a thousand skilled workers and artisans.”
2 Kings 24:16

Nebuchadnezzar considered the skilled workers and creative artisans to be too valuable to leave behind. He wanted them working for him. He knew the incredible value and influence these creatives possessed.

Release of Creative Artisans

Babylon means “gate of god” (notice the small “g”). It represents a system opposed to the true God. The enticements of counterfeit systems hold many skilled workers and creative artisans captive. But we have passed the threshold of release of Christian artists in every creative domain. Their talents are exploding on to the scene, having a dynamic impact as they use their gifts and talents to bring glory to God.

Those bound too long under domes of silence are being released and finding their voice. They are being promoted to stages and platforms. Their God-honoring expressions are being amplified across the globe.

Creative artisans arise! Sing the new songs of the Lord to this generation. Write like you have never written before. Sculpt and design! Be released! This is your hour to shine, reflecting the creative genius of God. Pray together. Work together. Build together. Train together.

God calls your name, bringing you to the forefront. He equips and prepares you. Though you may have been a captive of “Babylon,” you are free! God has set you free from your captivity.

When Ezra returned from Babylon to rebuild the destroyed temple, he brought back the creative artisans. When Nehemiah returned to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem, he, too, brought along skilled workers. The captivity in Babylon was a season.

The season of captivity has ended!

Arise artisans! Take your place for God’s glory, stepping into your true purpose.

**********