A quotation attributed to Albert Einstein reads, “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.”
Have you ever felt like a failure because you tried something and it didn’t work? Everyone feels that way sometimes, but not because they are failures. The reason we feel that way is we are focusing too much on our weaknesses and not developing our strengths.
The Bible teaches us that we are all different. In 1 Corinthians 12 Paul discusses the church as a body, saying not all of us can be an eye or a hand. Some of us have to be the ear; some of us have to be the foot. But all are important because all play an important function in the body. 1 Corinthians 12:18 sums it all up: “But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.” God has made every one of us special. Therefore, we should discover our gifts, develop them, and use them for his glory.
The Anatomy of a Strength
How do you know what you are good at? Here are four ingredients of a strength:
- Talent. This is your natural ability. Some people are naturally better at certain things than others. Believe it or not, this is the least important part of your strength because talent alone is not enough. Much talent has been squandered through the years because the next three parts of a strength were lacking.
- Knowledge and experience. Knowledge is the accumulation of facts; experience is the wisdom to use those facts. If you have talent in a particular area but never receive training or get experience to develop it, it will be useless. An Olympic gymnast has lots of talent and may make her feats look easy, but don’t be fooled. Behind that skill are hours of practice and training. Talent is not enough. You must have knowledge to develop your strength.
- Passion. What good is talent and knowledge if you do not want to do something? Many have overcome low talent and skill with passion, and many have failed because they had the talent and skill, but they did not have the passion. What do you desire? What are you enthusiastic about? The answer to these questions will point you towards one of your strengths.
- Opportunity. There must be a use for your strength. The Lord’s church is spiritual, but it is also practical. When evaluating your strengths, ask, “How can I use this for God’s purposes?” If your answer reveals an opportunity, you have a strength that you should develop.
In his divine wisdom, God made you special for a reason. Quit dwelling on who you aren’t, and focus on who you are. If you do this you will find that you have amazing potential.