If you hang out at the finish line of a running race of any distance, you’ll see finishers of all sorts … tall, short, thin, not thin, male, female, old, and young.  Some trained properly for the race; some winged it.  Some hydrated well; some didn’t.  Some had the race of their life; some felt like throwing up.  Some probably did throw up.  Each one crosses the finish line at a different time, with varied and unique abilities and experiences.  But, they all share the ability to cross it and the will to finish the race.

God has given each of you some special abilities; be sure to use them to help each other, passing on to others God’s many kinds of blessings.  1 Peter 4:10

God gave each of us talents.  And, they’re extraordinary because He gives only the very best.  Those talents, along with our individual experiences, make each of us uniquely suited to do marvelous things no one else can.  However, we sometimes feel average and common – certainly not extraordinary – when we feel lacking in the talents valued by our world.  Our society’s obsession with certain unique abilities – and the money, power, and media coverage it bestows upon those who possess them – can cause us to believe common, widespread talents are less than exceptional.  What is average and unexceptional, however, is allowing our God-given abilities to go to waste because they seem common and ordinary.   Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and goodness are examples of God-given gifts that can be used to accomplish the extraordinary in seemingly small, everyday ways.  Each of us has special gifts, but believing that and discerning our abilities are only the first steps.  Knowing how to use them is equally important.  Per Peter, we should use them for others.  When talents are discovered, pride and greed sneak in with tempting enticements.  Like anything that comes from the darkness, however, the enticements are counterfeit and will lead us astray.  It’s in using our gifts for others that we accomplish the extraordinary … and receive the side benefits of peace and happiness.  You are extraordinarily gifted by God.  Don’t let anyone – including yourself – tell you otherwise, and don’t let it go to waste.

Dear God, please help us discern our gifts and use them for others.