Dear Talent Digger

I saw you when you put your backpack behind the door. I saw you when you sat down in the corner of the room where you like to lie down, hoping that, if you close your eyes, you will not feel or think anything. I know how difficult it is to come back from that place where you buried your single talent. I’ve done that several times. It’s like you are coming in defeated from a battle field. You tried to do your best but nothing worked out, so you decided to quit. The best thing you could do with your talent was to hide it in a hole to protect it. At least, that was the only idea I could think of. I used to hide my talent because I didn’t believe that there was anything special about it.

When I saw my friends’ talents, I always thought that those were real talents. They knew how to speak in public and how to build houses. They knew how to write a good article and how to organize a good event. I, on the other hand, knew only how to smile and make children and youth feel comfortable. My talent was nothing, when I compared it to their big talents. My talent seemed to be a coin: the smallest coin. When I went to bury my coin for the third time I remembered that everyone is important to God, even the children, and those not necessarily needing a house or a great speech. There are people who only need a smile; there are children and youth who need to feel welcomed in a new place. If I buried my talent, they would miss me, because maybe no one else would do the same thing for them. Maybe you don’t know to do great things but you can do things that no one else can. God put something unique in you. Don’t burry it.

Sometimes when I look at you I remember me. I don’t like to repeat something. I prefer to quit instead of repeating it over and over again. I am a perfectionist. I am that kind of perfectionist who gets discouraged very fast. I wanted to bury my talent after my first article that had not been written very well. I was there, near the hole I dug, with my talent in my hands. I was ready to drop it when God reminded me about this verse: “A just man falls seven times and rises up again.” (Proverbs 24:16). I think that this verse is very encouraging for those who are tempted to quit because something did not work the first time around. Maybe perfection is not so much about getting things right the first time around, but to not quit after the first attempt. I’m asking you now, please, do not quit. Try it the suggested 8 times – at least!

If you are like me, you like all the things that start with great: great events, great people, great meetings, great every-thing. You like to be somewhere where great things are happening. You don’t like to spend your time doing common things, staying at home in the kitchen and cutting potatoes, or going to work and doing the same tasks every day. I imagine how you felt when you saw the coin you received and when you looked at your friend’s talents. You felt discouraged. It seemed that God was unfair with you. That’s why you buried your coin, isn’t it? You don’t want to live the common life that God seems to have planned for you. I want to remind you of something: Moses was a no-name shepherd before becoming the great leader that you admire. Samuel was a janitor at the temple before he became one of the great judges of Israel. King David was a shepherd boy in the beginning and even Jesus started by being a carpenter. Don’t let your coin stay there in a hole. Remember that he “who has been faithful over a few things, will be made ruler over many things” (Matthew 25:23).

Article previously published in the Apr-Jun 2012 issue of the Dynamic Steward. See here.