It’s true that Anna Mary Robertson, AKA Grandma Moses, began to paint for “life” at 78 years. It’s true that she began to paint because arthritic hands prevented her doing farm or needlework. It’s also true that her only training had been copying Currier & Ives prints.
However, as small children she and her brothers had their father’s stimulation. He urged them to draw pictures on the white sheets of paper he purchased for them. That start in childhood finally matured after nearly 80 years. Unforgettable Women of the Century, 120
That suggests a spiritual perspective. What skill, giftedness, talent, etc. may lay inert in a disciple’s life? What may we have had an interest in as a youngster or teen-ager that we allowed as adults to be buried under other interests or responsibilities? That means Christians should give careful thought before automatically saying NO when asked to serve a certain way. Only after investigating their past, and not finding the skill-set desired can they refuse for a reason, not as an excuse.
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Mark Twain had enormous story-telling skill. To this day millions enjoy the wit of this master of the art. But he failed to translate his writing talent into his business ventures. Modestly successful in one investment, he mistakenly indulged his ego in ever-larger projects, only to see them fail. In one scheme he invested $180,000, with no return at all. By 1895, due to his outrageous investments, he declared bankruptcy, being $100,000 in debt. At age 60 he returned to the lecture circuit to do what he did best—tickle the humor of humanity.
No single person, however brilliant, has all talent. When in John 12:20-22, the Greeks came to Philip, he didn’t now the next step. So he took them to Andrew, who did. Accustomed to bringing people to Christ, Andrew took the Gentiles there. Which may have reflected his confusion as much as his intention. He may have wondered what to do with the strangers, but he knew Jesus would have the answer.
Many situations exist where a Philip needs the services of an Andrew. God has made human inter-dependence an inevitable necessity by making human isolation virtually impossible. We live poorly when we live alone, away from others. Our very association with others enriches us, offering a cross-fertilization of ideas and values. Even the brightest and best have limitations that the dullest and least can fill.
We can properly value our talents if we as honestly admit our deficiencies. Our giftedness can be used to compensate the lack others feel while their strengths can compensate for our weaknesses. In this way we need neither be proud of our possessions nor ashamed of our incapacities. God has made it necessary, in society, the work place and the church for all to live together, with one’s abilities complementing another’s failures.