Are you feeling left out in the talent category?

By Darlene Warren

Can we agree on the basic premise that God created us all equal, that we all have the same potential in the long run? Men and women, black and white, minister or layperson?

To me, that has to be a foundational block on which we base our belief system. Even though we are not all exactly alike, I'm a firm believer in the concept that God has given us all certain abilities and talents. There used to be an old well-worn phrase floating around the church about how we all "mutually excel each other." Is that true? Even though we are equal in God's sight, does that necessarily mean that everyone's talents have the same worth?

I'm not sure it does. I don't even think He gave us all the same amount of talent.

In fact, I think biblical parables bear out that we don't all break out of the gate at the same time, nor do we all carry an equal amount of weight as we run our race. The Bible also teaches us that, even though we might not particularly appreciate the talents we've been given, we'd better do more than just bury them in the ground.

God will provide

But I know that God is not a respecter of persons. To me, that can only mean one thing: that somehow, somewhere, in His own good time, God will provide all of us whatever talent, whatever opportunity, in whatever form or fashion, He has so generously given to others, if we will only be patient.

In my next life (if I don't get to be a gatekeeper), I want to return as someone revered and respected. I want to have a talent that can be used to help other people and that is appreciated by all. I want to be that person that everyone greets with awe and just a little trepidation.

But, more than that, I want to be someone's helper of joy. I want to know that my life has meaning, that I was put on earth for a purpose.

I don't think people should look at me and automatically assume that God wouldn't want me in that position-that it's just for men. I want to be there standing in the gap. Yes, I know it is a lofty calling, but I want to be a part of that elite force: a master plumber.

Averting disaster

Is anyone in the world more welcomed and respected than your local plumber? Is there anyone you would least like to tick off? Is there anyone who has been your helper of joy more than the man who rights your world after a major disaster? (And when is a plumbing problem not a major disaster?)

If you answered no to those first three questions, then you know why plumbers are so popular. It's a tough field to get into, but there's nothing wrong with wanting to be one of the best. I know I could never reach that level of greatness without special help from somewhere.

Tipping the scales

If in the pursuit of my dream I find I have indeed set my goal too high, the next best occupational arena I would like to burst into would be that of the small-engine mechanic.

God knows His business and I don't want to be the one to point out injustices, but it sure seems to me that He tipped the scales way too far over to the male side in this area. If once in my life I could start a lawnmower or a tiller or even a Weedeater on the first pull, I could die knowing I had experienced the ultimate high: the high that comes from the realization that you can actually make something do what you want it to.

Mechanics have been worshiped down through the ages for their uncanny ability to repair equipment just long enough for you to get it back home, whereupon it reverts to the state it was in when you first admitted it to the garage. Their talent to create repeat business is seen by many as bordering on the verge of magic.

"Well, no, ma'am, there's nothing in the world wrong with this tiller. Anybody with half a brain could start this thing. See how easy it is? Vvvrrroommm. But, since I did spend five minutes looking it over, I'll have to charge you a $35 looking-over fee."

Yes, if only I had half a brain (or talent) I could be just as entrepreneurial as he.

The nail on the head

Another area I would love to be talented in is carpentry. Now, I really feel gypped on this one. You see, my dad was a carpenter. Over the course of his lifetime he did everything from framing homes to working in one of the world's largest shipyards. He even spent his spare time building shrimp boats in the backyard.

So what happened to me? I don't know, but I would love to be able to drive a nail straight into a piece of lumber when someone is watching.

No one knows for sure why God gives to some and takes from others. But I am confident that someday God will either look down and give me these talents, but, if not, then surely He will in the next life.

I'm already seeing a hint of some talent in my plumbing career. Just like faith, if you have a talent the size of a mustard seed, great things are bound to happen. I am the only one in my household who has been given the ability to replace the roll of toilet tissue on that spring-loaded spindle that hangs on the wall.

Do you know what that means to me? Many are called, but few are chosen. Not everyone can do this. Out of my entire family, I am the only one who has mastered this science. My life has meaning. I know it is a small step and the accolades haven't exactly been deafening, but I keep telling myself a plumber is not without honor except for those in his own house.

Maybe today you don't recognize your talents. (It could be because you haven't dug them out lately to look at them.) Maybe you have small, insignificant ones like me. Whatever talents we believe we have, or don't have, remember that God is not a respecter of persons. He created us all equal in the long run, so what if we have to wait a little longer for the really good ones? It will be worth the wait, won't it?

Remember to look for me. I'll be the one nobody wants to tick off.

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