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The Distraction of Envy

Do you ever envy other people’s talents?

Dr. Michael Saag is a friend and a world-class HIV researcher and physician.  But it is his ability to quote entire dialogues from movies he has seen that makes me laugh hysterically.  Especially comedies.  He can have an entire room rolling on the floor by quoting a scene word for word.  I just shake my head in disbelief at his photographic memory.  Sometimes, I can’t even remember a movie’s title I watched last night!  Woe is me.

What talents do you envy in others? Maybe it is someone who can sing, or play an instrument, or some other gift you wish you had?

The more we envy the talents of others, the more likely we will miss and devalue our own.  Envy is a marvelous distraction from self-discovery.

I Corinthians 12: 12-26 says that all persons who claim to be a child of God are all connected to one another like the human body, and all parts of the body are equally important.  The hand doesn’t say to the foot we don’t need you, or the ears have no right to envy what the eyes can do.  And so it is with our talents and gifts.

So how do I know what my gifts are? How do I identify my gifts so that I can use them to further the work of the Creator?

For me, a starting place in discovering my own gifts is the answer to this question:  “What do I love to do in helping others?”

There is a reason why you love to do a certain thing for others.  It is a holy whisper in your ear to say, “That’s one of your gifts.”

I have discovered that I love to be with people when they are in a crisis. This sounds really strange to some of my friends.  It is the last place they would love to be.  But that’s what is so cool and diverse about gifts.

Gifts are not given to be compared, they are given to be shared.

So what do you love to do when helping another person?

Write a note?  Make a phone call?  Give a ride? Cook a meal?  Take care of someone’s child or parent for a day?  Teach a class?  Cut the grass of a neighbor ‘s yard?  Offer a listening ear?  A helping hand?  An encouraging word?

Name it.  Claim it.  Share it.

But don’t compare it.

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