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Talent vs. Faithfulness: What is God Looking For?

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and by it he being dead yet speaketh.


By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him; for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.


By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.


By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs of him with the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised…By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son…


By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment. By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ’s greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. Through faith he kept the Passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them. By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land…


By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days. By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.


And what shall I more say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouth of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens….”

Hebrews 11: 1-34

Faithfulness – defined by Webster’s dictionary as “steadfast in affection or allegiance…full of faith.” The Bible talks about faith and being faithful throughout its pages. It’s woven through every book of the Bible. Hebrews 11 is all about faith and people who showed faithfulness in their lives.

So, why are so many of us hung up on talent? How many times have you questioned whether you could be used of God because you don’t feel like you’re talented enough? You’re not alone. All through the Bible people, even people of great faith, have questioned whether they were good enough – whether they were talented enough – to be used by God.

Moses Felt He Wasn’t Qualified

In Hebrews chapter 11, we see a picture of the faith of Moses and what God accomplished through him because of his faith. He chose to suffer with his people. By faith he forsook Egypt, he kept the Passover, the passed through the Red Sea on dry land, and they began the journey towards the Promised Land. Moses would be the one given the 10 Commandments by God, as well. Yet, there’s a little more to his story than these great acts of faith.

When God first called Moses to be the one to go before Pharoah and to be the one to lead His people out of Egypt, Moses questioned God’s wisdom in calling him.

“And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou has spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. And the Lord said unto him, who hath made man’s mouth? Or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? Have no I the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.”

Exodus 4:10-12

Moses had speaking difficulties. We don’t know for sure, but he likely stuttered. Whatever the case, he didn’t think he could be used of God because he was of slow speech. He questioned God’s calling. This great man of faith who would later lead God’s chosen people through the Red Sea on dry land – that same man – he was worried he wasn’t talented enough and well-spoken enough to fulfill God’s purpose. But God wasn’t looking for talent. He wanted someone faithful.

God reminded him that HE would be his mouth and give him the words to speak, but Moses kept on questioning. Of course, we know that God was angry with Moses’ continual doubting and questioning and went on to allow Aaron to speak for Moses.

When God called Moses, he didn’t care that Moses had difficulty speaking. God is big enough to take care of that. He wanted someone faithful, who was totally sold out to his cause, and someone that he could work through.

Samuel Look at Outward Appearances

While we’re often guilty at looking at ourselves and thinking we’re not talented enough or good enough for God, sometimes we look at others in the same way. Sometimes we’re guilty of looking at the outward appearance instead of looking at the heart and the faithfulness within like God does. And one example is the story of Samuel anointing the next King of Israel.

“And Samuel did that which the Lord spake, and came to Bethlehem. And the elders of the town trembeled at his coming, and said, Comest though peaceably? And he said, peaceably: I am come to sacrifice unto the Lord: sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice. And he sanctified Jesse and his sons, and called them to the sacrifice. And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, surely the Lord’s anointed is before him. But the Lord Said unto Samuel, look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart…

And Samuel said unto Jesse, are here all thy children? And he said, there remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither. And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the Lord said, arise, anoint him: for this is he. Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.”

I Samuel 16:4-7, 11-13

Even the prophet Samuel was guilty of looking at the outward appearance as he went looking for the next man to anoint as King of Israel. As he saw the sons of Jesse come before him, he looked at these strong young men and thought surely they were the one God wanted. But God reminded him, don’t look at the countenance or a man’s stature, because God is looking on the heart. He sees who people are on the inside. He didn’t want someone who looked the part of the king or someone who seemed talented enough to be king. No, he wanted the shepherd boy who would be faithful.

Faithfulness Always Trumps Talent with God

Here’s the most important thing we need to remember: Faithfulness ALWAYS trumps talent with God. When God is looking for people to be used greatly for his cause – like Abraham, Moses, David, Noah, Mary, and the Apostle Paul – he doesn’t go looking for the talented people. He’s not worried about whether you have a gift for speaking or singing or writing. God’s merely looking for people who will be faithful to his cause and allow him to work through them.

Just take a moment to look at the people that God used in the Bible – they weren’t talented people:

  • Moses had a speech impediment
  • Noah is known for getting drunk
  • Abraham was old, and Sara was barren
  • Gideon was fearful
  • Jacob lied
  • David was a shepherd boy
  • Jonah tried to run from God
  • Rahab was a prostitute
  • Ruth was a widow
  • Esther was in captivity
  • Job went bankrupt
  • Elijah was depressed and suicidal
  • Peter denied Jesus three times
  • Martha was a worrier

What we see here is a lot of people who had problems. They weren’t all talented. They were messy. Broken. But God still used these people in powerful ways.

When You Feel You’re Not Enough

If you’re worrying that you’re not enough or you’re wondering if God can use you like he did some of those incredible people of faith in the Bible, here are a few things to remember:

  • “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us…” (Ephesians 3:20)– God can work through you because he can do great things with his “power that worketh in us.” It’s not about you – it’s about God’s power working through you.
  • “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me…” (Psalm 138:8) – If you are willing to give God full control and to be faithful to him, then he is going to fulfill his purpose for you.
  • “For I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)– You can do anything through the power of Christ. He is the one who strengthens you.
  • “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) – God made you. You’re the work of his hands. And through his power and your faithfulness, there is so much that he can do through you.

Conclusion:

Years ago, when I was 16 years old, I heard this story. It’s stuck with me all these years. A missionary was holding a missionary service one night, telling about his work in Africa. At the end of that service, he gave a plea for workers, asking for people who were willing to serve God and dedicate their lives to telling others about Jesus to come forward. But no one in the audience moved.

In the hush, there suddenly was a bit of a commotion in the back, and the missionary looked up. Down the center aisle of that church came a teenage boy crawling on his elbows towards the front of the church. You see, the boy was paralyzed from the waist down, couldn’t walk, and was making his way to that altar in the only way that he could.

When the boy reached the altar, the boy looked up at the missionary and said, “Sir, can God use a crippled boy like me.” And that missionary, with tears running down his face replied, “Son, God’s been looking for a boy just like you.

What God’s looking for isn’t talent; he wants someone who will be faithful. So, if you’re asking if God can use you, despite your mess, despite your shortcomings, despite your failures…the answer is yes! God’s been looking for someone just like you!

Judi

Friday 25th of November 2022

Thank you…I needed to read this, this morning…it was the push I needed to use my talents to help others… It also reminded me to fully trust God In everything… and that I am human and fall short on that. But God is love and all forgiving…