Most people recognize the whistled theme song for “The Andy Griffith Show” (TAGS) when they hear it. Did you even know that song had lyrics? It was a spin off of The Danny Thomas Show and debuted on Oct. 3, 1960. When it went off the air on April 1, 1968 it was still number one in its time slot. It has a fan club with chapters all over the world and next weekend in Mt. Airy, N.C. these fans will gather to celebrate Mayberry Days.
In episode 216 of TAGS Howard Sprague the town clerk appeared on Colonel Tim’s Talent Time television show. Howard played a comedian. He was such a hit that Colonel Tim invited him back again the next week. But did you ever stop to think about the word talent? What is talent?
Webster tells us that during Biblical times a talent was a unit of weight and money used in Greece, Rome and the Middle East. A talent can also be defined as a marked innate ability for artistic accomplishment.
I Corinthians 12 talks about the special talents and abilities that we each possess. I’d like to share parts of that chapter with you here.
And now, dear brothers and sisters I will write about the special abilities the Holy Spirit gives to each of us. There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but it is the same Holy Spirit who is the source of them all. A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church.
To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another he gives the gift of special knowledge. The Spirit gives special faith to another, and to someone else he gives the power to heal the sick. He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and to another the ability to prophesy. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages and another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. It is the one and only Holy Spirit who distributes these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.
The scripture tells us that everyone is not an apostle, preacher or teacher. Not every one can perform miracles or heal the sick but all together we are the one body of Christ and each one of us is a necessary part of it.
Now I never thought much about my talents until I was 34 and going through a divorce. I thought my life was over. But when I entered a displaced homemaker’s class at Tri Star in 1987, the director told me, “Cathy, everybody has a giant sleeping inside of them, you just have to find your giant and wake him up.” Someone else encouraged me to enroll in college where I discovered that giant my writing and interpersonal communication skills.
And after four years of taking classes full time, working two part-time jobs, raising my son and commuting back and forth between WSU’s main campus in Dayton and my home in Celina. I proudly accepted my Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in mass communication from in 1991. I was 38 years old. It wasn’t easy since I had been out of high school 16 years when I started college, and I have battled muscular dystrophy since I was 11 years old. But I did it. In December of 1991, I sold my first magazine article to the Bureau of Business Practices. Since that time, I’ve had lots articles published in several magazines and area newspapers. One of my stories even changed the life of a young mother I’ve never met in a way I could never imagine. All this from someone who thought her life was over. I know now it was all part of God’s plan.
I also discovered I had a talent for capturing images on film and photography has become one of my favorite hobbies. But when I think about it I have other talents too. I love to cook and I try to be a good listener. I like to write notes and I’d like to think I’m compassionate towards others while trying to lift them up and make them feel good.
I’d like to encourage you to think about the special abilities your fellow church family members possess. Next, think about the special abilities or talents God has blessed you with. Are you sharing and using them for the glory of God or are you burying your talents like in the parable of the three servants in Matthew 25: 14-30? Verse 29 tells us that those who use what they are given will be given even more …. and those who are unfaithful even what little they have will be taken away.
In the book, Discover Your God Given Gifts, Don and Katie Fortune write that … what looks to you like the smallest talent …. may be exactly what God wants to use in a certain situation. To put it another way, in my favorite TAGS episode The Pickle Story, Sheriff Andy Taylor says “What looks like small potatoes to some can be mighty big to others.”
Aunt Bee was known far and wide in Mayberry for her cooking abilities except for her pickles which Andy and Barney referred to as kerosene cucumbers.
We can’t all be good at everything. After all, it would be a pretty boring world if we were all the same. It’s not always easy to step outside our comfort zone and share ourselves with others because we think we’ll fail or that other people will think we’re stupid or silly.
How do you discover your talents? First, ask yourself what are you good at? What do you enjoy doing? What do other people tell you they like about you? Maybe your gift is helping others manage their finances, maybe it’s gardening, teaching, flower arranging, decorating, arguing a court case, working with children, cooking, leading, preaching, praying, serving, patience, compassion or singing but we all have something God gave us to use to serve others and also give part of ourselves back to Him.
We can do three things with our lives and talents. We can waste them, we can spend them or we can invest them. The Bible teaches us to invest them to make a difference for eternity. Every day we should prayerfully ask God how we can use the talents he’s given us to help bring his Kingdom to earth so that we can help strengthen others.
So I’d like encourage you all to search for your God given talent — or that giant sleeping inside of you … if you don’t already know what it is … and then take “ONE GIANT STEP” outside your comfort zone … and use your talent. God knew exactly what he was doing when he created you. He didn’t underestimate your potential and neither should you.