Why do some people succeed or achieve more than others?
That is the question Malcolm Gladwell addresses in his book Outliers. Is it that some people are more gifted than others? Perhaps some are marked for greatness and the rest of us are just ordinary? Maybe it is just being in the right place at the right time? Is it related to your IQ or is your IQ irrelevant? These are some of the questions Gladwell addresses.
Of course success is usually a combination of a variety of factors, yet there is a poignant observation Gladwell makes in Outliers: “Achievement is talent plus preparation. The problem with this view is that the closer psychologists look at the careers of the gifted, the smaller the role innate talent seems to play and bigger the role preparation seems to play.” Paraphrase, you need to take some responsibility for your own achievement and success.
When Paul writes to Timothy, he urges him, “fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands” (2 Timothy 1: 6). To the church he loves in Philippi he writes, “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed – not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence – continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2: 12). Faith is not passive. God gives us gifts, to be used, to glorify Him and build His Church.
Just knowing we have gifts, or even having an awareness of our particular gifts is not enough, we are expected to do something with them, fan them into flame, and grow in them. This is not to make the gifts about us, but rather to use them to achieve something. This doesn’t have to be something public, nor is it measured by the size of the venture, but by using your gifts in the way God intended.
What has God given to you? How might you your gifts for Him this week?