Can You Say “I Used Everything You Gave Me?”

“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say: I used everything you gave me.” – Erma Bombeck

I love that quote. Isn’t that what we are called to do with our lives?  With every bit of energy that we can muster, we are called to spend our lives using all the talents, skills and abilities that God has given us to make the world a better place.  That is our responsibility.

Admittedly, using our talents isn’t always easy. Sometimes we have to break out of our comfort zone to use the talents that God has given us.  For example, I am a flute player.  I’m not a professional, but I can play classical pieces passably.  My challenge is that I don’t enjoy performing in front of other people.  So when I am asked to perform in church, I am reluctant to accept.  However, I have to step back and say to myself, “This isn’t about you.  This is about contributing to the worship service and creating a prayerful atmosphere.”  The reality is that sometimes using our talents can be uncomfortable.  However, God has given us those talents for the purpose of serving others.  As a result, we have to get past our discomfort and use them.


We also are responsible to continually refine our talents. That is hard!  We don’t always feel like improving ourselves.  Admittedly, it is much easier to spend our free time surfing the Internet, watching television, reading a book, or distracting ourselves in any number of ways.  It takes discipline to work at honing our skills on a regular basis.  But God doesn’t give us perfect talents.  Rather, He gives us an aptitude for something, and then He says, “OK.  Show me what you can do with it.”  It is a test of our character to work hard and turn that aptitude into something that can be a blessing to the world.

Sadly, some of us don’t use our God-given talents because there are others who happen to be better than us at a certain skill. So we assume our skill isn’t valuable simply because our cousin, friend, or brother happens to be more advanced than we are.  Don’t let yourself fall into that trap of wrongheaded thinking.  When you use your skill, it is used in the unique package that is YOU.  So that skill will be displayed with your particular brand of warmth, humor and compassion.  And that is a gift to the world that only you can provide.

And please don’t engage in false modesty by claiming that you have no talents. Everyone has something that they are good at.  You do as well.  If a parent, friend, teacher or colleague has ever told you that you don’t possess God-given talents, you have to realize that none of those people have the authority of God.  He has given each of us specific gifts and abilities.  You wouldn’t be on this earth if He didn’t want to use you in some way to be a blessing to others.  And He has imbued you with special skills for that very purpose.

The bottom line is that if God has given you a particular aptitude or talent, you must use it.  Don’t let it lie dormant.  Use it.  Work at it.  Refine it.  None of us knows how God wants us to serve the world.  But He can’t use us if we (1) don’t recognize our talents and then (2) use them.  If you do, you will find that He will take your life in directions that you couldn’t have imagined.