Find Your Gifts and Be What You Are – As Seen in a Commerical

Tall and short basketball playersOne of our tasks in life is to discover what our gifts are and what they are not. Having discovered our gifts, we do well to rejoice in them and not try to be what we are not.

An old story is told about Rabbi Eleazar who once said,

Every now and then I think to myself, “Eleazar, Why are you not more like Moses? Moses was a great man.” But then I think again, “If I try to be like Moses, when I die God will say to me, ‘Eleazar! Why were you not more like Eleazar?‘”

In other words, God already has a Moses. He needs an Eleazar. And from me he needs a Charles. Whatever Moses was, that has been accomplished. It is for you and me to become the man or woman that God made us to be.

St. Paul also writes of the need for diversity in gifts and teaches that God distributes them accordingly:

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.… (1 Cor 12:4-11)

Then St. Paul goes on to say that none of us should denigrate our gifts just because we admire a gift that someone else has:

Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. (1 Cor 12:15-19)

He also teaches that none of us should regard our gifts as superior to others, or to think that somehow we do not need the gifts of others:

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. (1 Cor 12:21-22)

So there it is. I do not have all the gifts, and you do not have all the gifts. But together, we have all the gifts. And a certain combination of gifts works well in certain situations, while another set might work well in others.

At times people admire my ability to write with ease. OK, fine. That is a gift I have: to write almost without effort. But don’t ask me to try to raise children, or even to try to teach little kids for more than 15 minutes—I don’t have any skill in that! I’m also lousy at math, and my parish staff will affirm that my administrative skills leave something to be desired. But, thanks be to God, my staff DOES have those skills and they do a great job. That frees me to write, preach, teach, and celebrate the Sacraments. Yes, together we have all the gifts.

Enjoy this video, which teaches that certain combinations of gifts work well in certain settings but poorly in others. It is not just that we each have particular skills, but also that different situations often require different gifts.

12 Replies to “Find Your Gifts and Be What You Are – As Seen in a Commerical”

  1. Well stated and applicable to all of us. Thank you. But some people, like you, have some pretty awesome gifts!

  2. OOOOh, but I really want the gift of public speaking. I want to go and set the world on fire. But alas, my gifts are more humble like St Teresa of Lisieux. God gives me what I need, not what I want Thank you for the reminder.

  3. If my gift is the gift of a chisel, and I don’t use my gift, then someone’s gift of a hammer is going to reduce a block of marble to rubble, rather than carve it into the sculpture God intended.

    There’d be less rubble if more Catholics used their gifts, and there’d be more Catholics using their gifts if more Catholics knew what their gifts were, and there’d be more Catholics who knew what their gifts were if more Catholics knew that they *have* gifts.

    And all Christians, by virtue of their baptism, have gifts.

  4. Another great post that speaks to me where I am right now. God bless you.

  5. You always say it so well Msgr. You are so gifted with your writing. It is true, we can not have it all, much as
    we would like to.

  6. I really like this. I have been trying to talk with my kids about these very issues (that we are all different yet equal and loved). Thank you!

  7. you very much have the gift of bold and truthful preaching also. God Bless Father.

  8. Hmm..,great way to meditate upon and reassess what God has given me for His Kingdom. Blessings and prayers from a brother priest.

  9. How can we help more Catholics understand their gifts

  10. Dear Msgr. Pope, I just wanted you to know that we are a small family of 6 in Alberta, Canada and we truly find that you are our spiritual Father! We find in trying times that your writings are always a very specific direction for our situation. We wanted you to know how grateful to God we are for your gifts! Thank you Father!

  11. Noting the Rosary when recited in church recently no prayer for the intercession of St. Michael was made.

    As May 8 is approaching could you please view The Archangel Michael: The Original Counter-Revolutionary.

    Video Sancto has put it on YouTube.

    Many Thanks.

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