Updated: Mar 28, 2019
I know that when the pastor starts talking about “Time and Talents”, I get sweaty. When Pastor Lecia asked members of the redevelopment team to be prepared to speak about our talents and gifts at our last meeting, I got really nervous. I had no idea what to say. She kept making eye contact with me during the sermon and I kept trying to get smaller and hide. In my mind I kept thinking “please don’t ask me, I have no idea what to say.” I was going to just take a deep breath and start talking, hopeful something meaningful would spill out.
I don’t feel comfortable sharing my talents because I don’t think I have any real worthy talents. “I can play the saxophone” doesn’t seem like something I should put on the church talents and gifts survey. I can’t think of any other skill I possess that would be important enough to share with anyone, let alone be useful to carrying out the Risen Lord mission. Maybe you are like me, and the thought of telling someone what your talents are sends a wave of panic over you. To be honest, I am still not sure exactly what I would have listed as talents until I heard Pastor Lecia talk about the journey of the wise men. This story spoke to me in a different way than ever before in my life and I would like to take a minute to share it with you today. In the story, the wise men knew they were about to embark on an important journey, but not what to take with them. Maybe it was implied since they were going to find the child born the King of Jews, but I’m not even sure if they knew to take gifts. In fact, I have read several articles that support my theory, saying their gifts were strange for a baby. They had to use God’s guidance to find the true course of their journey by following the star to Bethlehem. Of course, over the thousands of years since they traveled to Bethlehem, scholars and theologians have told us about the gifts and their significance in both Jesus’s birth as “The King” and the foreshadowing of his death. But what if, the gifts were just the things these travelers happened to have in their packs? What if they had no idea who they were really going to see, and they just gave him whatever gifts they had? What if they weren’t even wise men at all and just some men sent on an errand by their leader and as it turned out, became amazingly “wise” men? It is not even clear from the passages in Matthew that there were only three men. I wonder if you and I can think about our gifts from this perspective of the men traveling to Bethlehem. Perhaps, we should just look within to our values to find our gifts and talents, those we already carry. Look within and listen to God for guidance, to can help locate your most valuable gifts. For example, “learning” and “growing” are two values I can find in every part of my life. As you know I am a music teacher, but maybe my talents are more broad than teaching kids to play instruments. Maybe that is why I don’t feel my talents are worthy of sharing. I’m looking to find how they fit instead of just listening to guidance from God within me. I don’t have any idea how those two talents, learning and growing, might be useful at Risen Lord, but I cannot worry about those details. I just need to listen and share my story. Don’t worry about how you think your talents can help our church and community, just listen to what you value. Let the scholars and theologians of the future look back and debate how our list of Risen Lord gifts and talents were the beginning of a great and wonderful future for the congregation and church mission. Who knows, maybe your gifts and talents are fit for a king.
Sam Fritz Redevelopment Team