God gathers up your talents for His glory

No one can be deprived of their God-given purpose.

At one time I was not able to use my talents and training in the way I had hoped. Although I had college degrees that had led to many years of fruitful work, I felt I still had more to give. When I returned to college later in life, a previously unrecognized talent surfaced that gave me enormous satisfaction. I earned a degree in graphic design—the culmination of an academic experience that I had found especially meaningful. 

I felt strongly that God had revealed this talent to me, but after graduating I was only a decade away from an age at which people commonly retire. My prospects for securing a graphic design position seemed slim. Three years of searching in this highly competitive field passed without success. But these were not wasted years. 

During this time, I gained a new, more spiritual perspective on work. I learned that my real job and purpose were to reflect God by living divine qualities, including the qualities I associated with graphic design: I could always be fully engaged in expressing order, beauty, originality, intelligence, and love. Glorifying God took on fresh meaning as I acknowledged Him as the sole source of these qualities. God was not neglecting me; rather, He was consistently revealing inspired ideas. I created and shared art in my community, spending countless hours exploring how spiritual qualities could be expressed in my designs. 

The match between my skills and the job requirements far exceeded my expectations. 

I felt encouraged knowing that Christ Jesus tolerated no waste when he instructed his disciples to gather up the fragments of bread and fish that remained after feeding thousands (see Matthew 14:14–21). His healing work also showed that no life could be wasted and that no one could be deprived of their God-given purpose. Furthermore, Jesus wasn’t deterred by a problem being long-standing: He healed a man paralyzed for 38 years as well as one who had been blind since birth.

From Jesus’ example, I knew that periods of discouragement could not hinder my demonstration of proper and fulfilling employment. Instead, they served as opportunities to listen more carefully for God’s direction. 

One day while sitting in a coffee shop that was exhibiting my art, I received a strong message from God that it was time for me to find full-time employment. Shortly after, I met a neighbor on his way to a job interview. Despite having an advanced academic degree, he was applying for a job stocking shelves in a local store.

Inspired by his humility and willingness to take practical steps to support his family, I applied at a temporary job agency and was given an assignment that required graphic design skills. After a year on this job, I learned from a former classmate of a permanent graphic design position that was available at her place of employment. 

I applied for the job and was quickly hired. I was in awe of the way the timing of this development reflected God’s precise control. For the position, I needed experience with some new software, which I had just learned on the temporary assignment. 

God’s control was also evident in the match between my skills and the job requirements, which far exceeded my expectations. For example, my new employer published special education materials, and I had taught special education; they were branching out into a field in which I had earned a degree—adult development and aging; they needed help with editing, and I had many years of editing experience. Not only did my diverse skills meet the needs of the company, but the company met my desire to use the full variety of my skills on the job, and I joyously worked there until my late retirement.

One day, I read the following Bible passage, in which God promises to gather the Israelites for His glory: “I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him” (Isaiah 43:5–7). It felt to me that God had given me every talent I possessed and then gathered them up­—brought them together—for His glory.

We all have a multitude of God-given talents to be gathered up for His glory—for our satisfaction and to benefit others at God’s direction. 

The Bible shows how Jesus’ talents and experiences were gathered up and shared to glorify God through his healing ministry. Listening to the religious teachers in the Temple at age 12, he demonstrated his grasp of God’s Word and asked questions that astonished these well-educated men. Jesus’ discourse with the scholars suggests a desire to both deepen his divine understanding and share it, which directly impacted his career and life purpose.

In more recent centuries, God gathered up the talents and experiences of Mary Baker Eddy, preparing the way for her discovery of how Christ Jesus healed—of the Science of Christian healing. During her childhood, Mrs. Eddy’s father would bring sick farm animals to her to be nursed back to health (see Yvonne Caché von Fettweis and Robert Townsend Warneck, Mary Baker Eddy: Christian Healer, Amplified Edition, pp. 30–31). And even before Mrs. Eddy had made her discovery of the divine law of healing, she was demonstrating an innate ability to heal as she sought to understand this healing law. As she writes in the textbook of Christian Science: “God had been graciously preparing me during many years for the reception of this final revelation of the absolute divine Principle of scientific mental healing” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 107).

I have learned to look daily for the ways in which God brings together the abilities that He has given to me and to others and puts them to use for His holy purpose, in both professional and church work. We all have a multitude of God-given talents to be gathered up for His glory—for our satisfaction and to benefit others at God’s direction. God did this in Jesus’ day and in Mrs. Eddy’s, and He is doing this today—for you and me.

Heart’s longing
March 20, 2023

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