A local high school hosted a talent show for students to perform their hearts out. I heard musicians play instruments exceptionally well, poets who had substance to say, and singers who sang with passion. It was great, but their courage is what blew me away. It’s not easy to stand in front of your peers and teachers at that age with fortitude and stage fright sloshing in your chest. I was so proud to witness their raw talent in real time.
At some point in our lives, we did things afraid. We were scared out of our wits, but we did it anyway. We played that note, we said that speech, we asked her out… we made our courage override our fear. I couldn’t imagine performing in front of my friends and spectators in such a vulnerable form as a talent show. Being the band is one thing, but to stand alone with just you and your voice or instrument is another. At some point, we need to do things afraid again. Trust in our talent and our preparation and go for it. That’s what those teenagers did and I was so encouraged.
So, write the grant, take that class, publish that cookbook… do it afraid and you’ll do it with courage.
Peace, Thanks for listening, and Happy Thanksgiving!
I was tickled after reading a devotional last night about not being offended by someone else’s portion of talents and gifts. I mean certified tickled. I was laughing in bed and shook my head in amazement before falling asleep.
“To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey.”
So, if you don’t know the story, a master has to leave town for awhile and gives his workers a portion of his wealth to manage while he’s gone. To one servant, he gave 5 talents. To another, he gave two talents. And to the third one, he gave one talent. Now, one talent is worth about 15 years of labor’s wages, so each man had enough to work with. Totally excuse free.
But this is what got me laughing. We pay so much attention to what someone else has, how many talents they received from the Master, that we forget the part that says “each according to his own ability.” Now, check it – if we just grow what WE were allocated, it can still double which is WAY more than what we had (Matthew 25:16-17)!
Then, if that wasn’t enough, both the 5-talent and 3-talent servants got the same response from the master:
Matthew 25:21 (NLT) “The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!”
It didn’t matter how much they started with because he knew what he gave them in the first place. He just needed him to grow what they had. Isn’t that a simple concept. God is sitting there waiting on us to just grow what we’ve been given. Don’t worry about the size and placement; just multiply it! Multiply your measure, your gifts, love, peace, laughter… make it grow! The 1-talent servant was deemed wicked because he didn’t have faith in action to believe what he had was enough. Shame on all of us for thinking that way sometimes. And that’s what made me giggle as I turned on my side and set my alarm for the next day. I’ve been doing this thing all wrong. I just have to grow what’s in my hand because it is enough and the God that gave it to me is enough too.
And not to mention that even the verses of the parable doubled (14+14 = 28). LOL!
Forever is a long time to grow. Are you willing to do it?
I mean it. Are you willing to a make a pact with God that you will grow as long as you live here on Earth? After all, we are the seeds of Adam and Eve and quite frankly, there’s still some growing to do. If plants can do it, why can’t we? Why can’t we do what seeds do – germinate and multiply?
It seems hard to think about, but we are designed to break free from the shell of innocence and yield a life with more seeds to plant. With our words, deeds, and talents, we were created to expand and produce a harvest for others to courageously do the same.
So, when I say “Forever is a long time to grow,” I intend to invoke conviction of every intrapersonal and interpersonal interaction you will have for the rest of your life. I want you to think about the seeds your fruit is producing for others to ingest. I want you to think about forever.
I have the best creative team in the world. Give us space and time and we do extraordinary things, like create moving water, tumultuous trees, and a visual Bible story in seconds.
On last Sunday afternoon and into late that evening, my performing arts troupe, Workmanship Incorporated, rehearsed for our upcoming performance at the UAB Gospel Choir Reunion Concert to be held at the Alys Stephens Center on Monday, November 13, 2017. I was torn between physical pain and supernatural will, but I made it. One of my teammates lives in another state and she drove into town to join us. Other teammates came from church, work, and family duties to give their sacrifice of dance as well. To check out a short clip of the rehearsal, click here.
At one point in the rehearsal, I stepped back and just marveled at how fantastic they were. Willing and diligent to get it right so God could have complete control on performance day. No one complained. No one was belittled. No one was anxious to leave. We were on one accord. Everyone was pressing toward the mark and it was beautiful. I loved beholding the glory of God working in them behind-the-scenes.
In a bigger perspective, many will never see what we go through at home in order to produce the fruit on our limbs in life. We have structured areas and danger zones where we get our lives together before heading out into the world. In the performing arts arena, the audience may see 10 minutes of creativity for 10 hours of preparation. It’s a labor of love and a gritty process, but well worth it in the end. That’s the essence of your life, your relationships, your dreams, your responsibilities. If you do it right, grit becomes part of your daily diet. It’s good for you and for those around you. It doesn’t let you quit or whine. It pulls you over the humps and having others with you that chew on the same stuff makes all the difference.
So, there I was… with a front row seat looking at a dream realized from my 14-year-old self. Rehearsing with all of the energy we could muster. Laughing through trials and sharing our victories. And I realized then,the aftertaste of grit tastes good.
Peace & Thanks for listening!
And to my Troupe, Workmanship Incorporated, thank you for being my muse. I love y’all. Xoxo
In response to The Daily Post’s One Word Prompt: Open
When we leave food uncovered, it becomes susceptible to anything surrounding it.
Gnats. Fruit flies. Ants. Bacteria. Grubby little hands. Grown man fingers. Just to name a few.
I’ve noticed that when hearts and minds are open, we experience the same challenges. Good things can come out of us when the walls of our hearts are open enough to let them out. Sometimes a crack is all it takes for a beam of light to shine on a dark situation. Also, the mind can be exposed to great intellectual seeds just waiting to burrow into our soul’s innermost concerns and germinate into solutions for our problems. When our being is open, fruitful results flow out of us and attract others. Like a beautiful cuisine on display, it is pretty to behold and smells deliciously divine, so it draws in the likes of those who wish to partake in its expected excellence.
On the other hand, this can pose an issue when it comes to matters of the heart and the fragility of the mind. Whenever the opportunity arises to expose greatness, there is also opportunity for disgrace and contamination.
We shine in hopes of receiving confirmation that we are authentically exceptional in our strengths and talents.
We spill our gifts and let them run freely to open hands in the audience; however, it comes with a price. The ants come to feast. The hands seek to devour and the bacteria is just along for the ride. Suddenly, the greatness becomes emptiness. The shine is dulled. The once beautiful cuisine appears in the imagination as the eyes see the crumbs. Being open sucks sometimes, and there’s not much we can do to prevent this ravishing to be brave in our openness.
Polish-French Pianist Chopin (Szopen in Polish) had his share of this phenomenon. In addition to his musical brilliance, his performance style wasn’t well received at larger concert spaces in the earlier stages of his career; nevertheless, he continued to pour his passion into his composition and flourished as a well-known as an artist. One fact most do not know about Chopin is that his body is buried in France (his creative home), but his heart was interred in Poland (his birthplace). Interesting.
There’s something to be said about the emphasis we place upon our giving. We can’t afford to mope around, focusing on the empty vessel we could become over time.Somehow the more we give, the more we obtain to give. The mere fact that we’re a vessel at all should be a graceful honor.
The world depends on our open door to greatness, but there’s nothing wrong with a gate to maintain its luster.
We have the opportunity each day to affect the lives of others in a positive magnitude that could send shockwaves into their future. Could you be abused and misused? Possibly… but those boundaries are up to you to uphold. Do what it takes to continue the flow.