I remember listening to a sermon series about the questions of Jesus. We often focus on the teachings of Jesus, or the actions of Jesus. But Jesus also asked some very powerful questions during his three years of ministry. These questions forced his listeners to think, wrestle, and ultimately come to a deeper understanding of themselves and the world.
The Question of Jesus
Here’s an example: Near the end of his ministry, Jesus was pretty popular. He would travel around with his disciples, and large crowds followed him everywhere he went. This one time, Jesus had been teaching for three days in a row out in the countryside.
As he wrapped up his teaching, he had compassion on the crowd, because they had nothing to eat. He told his disciples that they should give the crowd some food to take with them for their trip home.
His disciples were skeptical. There were thousands of people. Where were they going to get enough food for everyone?
That’s where the question of Jesus comes in: “How many loaves do you have?”
You probably know the rest of the story. The disciples gather up seven loaves of bread. Jesus gives thanks, breaks the bread, and a miracle happens. All the people are able to eat. There are even some baskets of bread left over.
Jesus Works With What We Have
The point of the question is that Jesus works with what we have. We all have a set of gifts and talents. Maybe you’re good at working with your hands and fixing things. Maybe you are good at school and figuring things out. Maybe you’re good at art and making things beautiful. Maybe you are good at empathy and understanding people.
God designed each of us with a specific set of gifts and talents. God made you that way. And it’s good.
You might be in a place where you don’t think you have any gifts or talents. You might not think you have anything to offer. That’s a tough place to be in, but it isn’t true. Everyone has something they are good at, a gift to offer to the world. We just need to figure out what it is.
Or maybe you know what you’re good at, but for some reason you haven’t pursued it. Maybe growing up your parents told you that what you were good at or interested in wasn’t important. Instead, you had to prepare for a “real job.” So you set your gifts and talents aside. Maybe it’s time to get back to them.
Or maybe you know what you are good at, but you’re holding back because of fear. It’s scary to put yourself out there and pursue something important to you. It might not work out. Something might go wrong. It’s a risk.
Don’t Bury Your Talents
Don’t bury your gifts and talents. If you bury them, the world doesn’t get to experience the benefits of all you have to offer. Think about what the world would look like if Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, or C.S. Lewis hadn’t pursued their gifts and talents. Also, you don’t get the joy of living a full life, leaning into your gifts, talents, and passions.
How many loaves do you have? It might be time to dig around in your basket and figure it out.
Action Step: Go to this website and take a free strengths test. It’s not an exact science, but it might give you a sense of your top strengths and talents. To what extent are you using these strengths in your job? To what extent are you using these strengths in your everyday life?