Using the talents we have

This is a translation of a scriptural meditation from the Russian book, “Day by Day”:

Scripture: “The Lord said to Aaron: go into the wilderness to meet Moses” (Exodus: 4, 27)


"The Lord always knows where to find the person He needs. He prepares people without their realizing it for the future task which is set for them. For eighty years He prepared Moses to be the leader of the Israelites. And Aaron was being prepared for his destiny. He did not know what awaited him, but the Lord knew; he did not know what use there would be for his capabilities, but when the time came he was ready to do what was required.

"Early in life young people do not know what their calling is; but every young person has talents of some kind, and he or she must develop them to the best of their abilities in order to be ready to fulfill their calling when the Lord needs them.

“There was a young girl who prayed daily that the Lord prepare her for what would await her in life. Very often our talents disappear without benefit for others or ourselves because we did not take care to develop them. On the contrary, we should constantly work on those areas where we have talents. And in due course the Lord will clearly show us how to apply them.”

This brings to mind what Lewis wrote in his essay, “Learning in Wartime” (from the collection, “Weight of Glory”):

“The work of a Beethoven and the work of a charwoman become spiritual on precisely the same condition, that of being offered to God, of being humbly done ‘as to the Lord’. This does not, of course, mean that it is for everyone a mere toss-up whether he should sweep rooms or compose symphonies. A mole must dig to the glory of God and a cock must crow. We are members of one body, but differentiated members, each with his own vocation. A man’s upbringing, his talents, his circumstances, are usually a tolerable index of his vocation.”

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever.” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8)

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Indeed. The advice, common today, to “follow your heart”, “do what you love”, etc., is at best foolhardy; you may love something that you just aren’t any good at. One of my favorite examples of this is the notorious American 1950s film director, Ed Wood. It’s obvious that he had a passion for making movies; it’s equally obvious that he had no talent in that regard (it’s a mystery to me who kept funding them).