Character Outweighs Talent

Every person has their strengths and weaknesses. Thank God for those strengths! And man, how those weaknesses can challenge and threaten everything!

Solomon was a man whose wisdom was an astoundingly big strength. God specially blessed him when Solomon asked him for wisdom at the beginning of his reign as king. As a result of that blessing, he became a “Renaissance Man” 2300 years before the renaissance even began.

He wrote thousands of of proverbs (a few of which are in the book of the Bible called “Proverbs”). He composed over a thousand songs. He was a scholar and a scientist, with expert knowledge in botany and zoology. He skillfully managed thousands of government officials, and served as commander-in-chief of the Israelite military.

Yet, he was also a man who allowed himself to be trapped by greed and lust. He could never seem to get to a point where he could say, “I have enough.” Whether it had to do with the size of his kingdom, the wealth of his household, or the number of wives and kept-women he surrounded himself with — more was always better.

And that led to his ultimate downfall.

This is something for all of us to keep watch for. We may have a lot of talents and abilities. We may be blessed with a quick intellect, ready answers and solid advice for people. But each of us will still struggle with sins that can result in our own downfall.

It’s good to be thankful for the talents God has given us. It’s even better to be watchful and vigilant about character defects that can destroy and demolish our lives and our faith.

Jesus is the answer. He has the forgiveness we need for the times when we fail. He also has the strength we need to heal our hurts, build a godly character, and replace the habits and hang-ups that can blow up the things we cherish most in life.

At the end of the day, character outweighs talent. No matter how talented we might be, our character flaws can demolish everything we’ve invested a lifetime building.

Including, even, our relationship with God.

“God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore” (1 Kings 4:29, NIV).

Lord, thank you for giving me the talents and abilities I have. Please forgive me for the sins I commit and help me build a godly character so that I can honor you. Thank you, Jesus, for your steadfast love, for sacrificing yourself for me and for helping me not to self-destruct through my character flaws.

Our Bible reading for Thursday, June 18, is 1 Kings 3:16 – 5:18, Acts 12:19 -13:12 and Psalm 74:18-23.

Header image based on "House No More" by James McCauley, CC By 2.0

Handing Out Awards Like Hotcakes

We have a God who loves to hand out awards. And because he is as gracious as he is generous, these awards are lavish — and completely undeserved.

After all, God created us in the first place. He gave us our hands, feet, eyes, ears, minds and hearts. Every good and perfect gift, James says, comes down from the Father of heavenly lights.

Then God redeemed us from our empty way of life under slavery to sin. He bought us back from a certain and eternal death — freeing us from sin, guilt and shame. And he did it at great cost to himself. He sacrificed his one and only Son, Jesus, to make that redemption become real.

God also gifted us with our talents, abilities, and various personalities. He shaped and molded us into the individual we are today, both through nature and nurture. Our inner “wiring” all belongs to him.

By grace, God has saved us for eternity. Even more shocking, he is building a personal home for each of us in the life that follows this life. He gives us this heavenly home for free. No mortgage payments. No savings account needed in this life. What provides this gift to us is the grace of God. No more. No less.

And finally, God promises to bless us in heaven when we use the bodies he’s given us, express the freedom he’s won for us, apply the gifts he’s chosen for us, all while living in the hope of eternal life that he’s made available to us.

And where do you think the motivation and energy we need to do this comes from? You got it. Like everything else, it comes from him. By grace.

God is that guy. He’s indiscriminate and unrelenting in his grace and generosity. So much so that the outside observer looks on and wonders if God is not way too generous.

But please understand God’s heart. All of this is because what God really wants for us is to share in his happiness.

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’” (Matthew 25:21, NIV).

Lord, thank you for your amazing generosity and grace which we get to personally experience each day. Thank you for wanting us to share in your happiness.

Our Bible reading for Saturday, February 7, is Job 40:3 – 42:17, Matthew 25:14-46 and Psalm 18:43-50.

Header image based on "Trophies" by Paulus, CC by 2.0