Posts Tagged ‘talent’

Is there ever a time to crush someone’s creative dream? Well the answer to that question is yes, and no. Let me explain. Have you ever watched American Idol? Now not after it’s down to the live shows when everyone is good. No I’m talking about the auditions, especially in the early seasons when they showed a lot of the most untalented people. Some of these people were frankly delusional. They thought they had talent, everyone told them they were good, but any listening person saw they were not even close. They left the auditions either crushed and devastated, flipping our angrily, or determined to try again next year.

I was one of these people. No I never auditioned for Idol, I was already too old for that when the show came on and by then I had had my rude awakening, but I did play in a band once, for about two weeks. I was a bass player, well sort of. I stank. I couldn’t even tune my own instrument, but that didn’t matter, I wanted to be a rock star and someone once told me I could do anything I put my mind to. They lied.

Here’s the thing, you can’t do anything you want to do. You can do anything you’re designed to do. I was not created to be a musician and maybe someone should have crushed my dream. Heck somebody did. I found out our rhythm guitarist was asked to take over on bass, essentially pushing me out. Thing is it was the best thing anyone could have done for me, but it was painful.

If I had worked my tail off, all day every day I might have been able to become a nominal bass player, but who wants to be nominal? Should we crush someone’s dream. On one hand, if we don’t, sooner or later someone will, and they might not be so kind about it, or worse we’ll continue slogging away in a fantasy, when we could be creating a great reality. I tend to shy away from dream crushing because art is so subjective. If I’m Bringing Sexy Back would have been Justin Timberlake’s first song, I would have crushed that dream and fast. It’s awful, but the NFL and a lot of screaming fans seem to disagree. What I like instead of dream crushing is something I call loving redirection. When someone found my gift of art and redirected me toward it, especially when related to ministry, I thrived. I found my niche and I am happier today than I have ever been. I’ve had so many dreams in my life, and a lot of them got crushed, but some of those things simply had to go, and others had to happen to build my skills to position me.

Failure is a great teacher, and a great guide. If you see someone trying really hard at something but the aptitude isn’t there, don’t crush them. Instead look for the good in them and give them the opportunity to succeed.

It’s called loving redirection. It’s good leadership and done well it benefits all involved. Pass it on!


My theme for an upcoming meeting is the word Submission and what it means to submit ourselves and our gifts to God and to those He has placed over us. Part of the meeting is going to be an invitation to create something reflecting a favorite part of Jesus’ story. I woke up with this one. It’s a sketch for a work of art I would like to create some day soon. I call it eleven bags.


It comes from this passage from Matthew 25, which says,

28 “‘So take the talent from him and give it to the one who has ten talents. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them…”

You might ask why this is a favorite part of Jesus’ story. Well it’s the end of my favorite parable, the parable of the talents. You know the story. A ruler gives a portion of his wealth to each of three servants. The unit of measure for these portions is called a talent. One servant gets five talents, another two and another one. The first two go to work at once and invest what the master invested in them, doubling what they have. The third servant, paralyzed by fear, buries the master’s investment, putting it away for safe keeping. The passage tells what happens when the master returns and finds that this servant squandered the opportunity.

Friends, I don’t believe it is an accident that the word talent was used in this parable (and to the people who publish the NIV Bible, you really messed up by changing the word in the latest edition. I “corrected” it above.). Our talents are not accidental. They are an investment from God into our lives, to be put to work for His Kingdom. He expects us to use them and not squander them, that is to say, not bury them. Fear made this servant doubt himself and his master’s goodness. Don’t make the same mistake. Our Master is good, all the time. We have nothing to fear but the fear that keeps us from living out our creative destiny. The other two servants in the story hear well done, because they invested what their master invested in them. That’s what I want.

The master in our story gives the squandered talent to one who demonstrates faithfulness. Don’t bury your talent. Put it to good use.

How are you investing what the Lord has invested in you? If you’ve buried your talents, go and dig them up and start putting them to use today.

The challenge for this week was the word Talent. I wasn’t quite sure how to express it until I found this great quote from John Wooden that not only addresses talent but how to handle it.

(Shared from Facebook)
In Washington DC , at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, a man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

After about four minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.

About four minutes later, the violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

At six minutes, a young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

At ten minutes, a three-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent – without exception – forced their children to move on quickly.

At forty-five minutes: The musician played continuously. Only six people stopped and listened for a short while. About twenty gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

After one hour:
He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities.

This experiment raised several questions:

In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?

If so, do we stop to appreciate it?

Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:
If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made…
How many other things are we missing as we rush through life?”

The other day I posted a posting that bordered on a rant about church signs. It’s a peeve of mine and perhaps I should know better than to post the peeves. I am in no position to be critical and a critical spirit definitely came out in that post. I do apologize.

I should say this a different way. Your sign is one of the ways you introduce your church to the world, correct? You spend your time out there in the sun and the wind and the cold and the rain fumbling with all those little letters for a reason, right? What is the reason? Is it to get a little chuckle or is it to get the people who pass your church every day to look at it and say, “I wonder what’s going on in there” until they eventually come in and check you out? My guess is, because I’ve never met a pastor who doesn’t care about the souls outside our walls, that the second one is the motivation.

So let’s give it our best. Giving it your best might mean giving it to someone else. Have someone impartial check out your postings. Are they working? Do they do what you want them to do? Then ask yourself is there someone in the congregation that has a gift for writing, maybe a gifted Tweeter? Could the sign be a ministry for them? The upside of this is they get to fumble with the little letters in the heat, wind, rain, cold, etc.

The guiding verse of this blog (and AMOKArts in general) is 1 Peter 4:10: “Each one should use whatever gifts he has received to serve others…” Helping someone to use his or her gift, even in such a small way, will help to get him/her to be more invested in the ministry of your church, take something off your plate, and help to put your church’s best foot forward.

I really envy my friend Mark. The guy can do it all, act, sing, direct, build sets, paint, and on and on, but more and more I understand that it does me no good to envy. My time is better spent doing what I can and trying to be a blessing.