“Those killed by the sword are better off than those who die of famine; racked with hunger, they waste away for lack of food from the field...” Lamentations 4:9

During my thirties my sons and I took snowboarding lessons through their school. Quickly I learned that “snow riding” provided more thrills than skiing. What fun to heel-side, toe-side, and S-curve down green and blue runs. I even got good at 360’s as I swirled slowly down the bunny hill.

However along with thrills came spills, and one day I caught a back edge, flipped backward and snapped my wrist under the full weight of my body. I wore a cast on my right arm for six long weeks and when it came off my appendage looked wimpy and weak.

The image of my skinny arm reminded me of the saying “use it or lose it”. When we don’t use a muscle, it atrophies. When we don’t exercise a talent, it wanes. When we ignore a God-given skill, it spirals into mediocrity.

But it’s surprising what a little exercise can do to regain muscle tone and strength. Once out of the cast, and put back to regular use, my arm thickened and strengthened within weeks. Similarly, we can build ‘gifted muscle’ by volunteering, serving, helping, and leading. It doesn’t take much, but the benefits really pay.

Do you have a gift that’s sitting idle just now? Perhaps it’s a talent (like sports, math, or music) or a spiritual one (like serving, leading, or hospitality).  Is it wasting away like an arm in a cast? What’s keeping you from using it? Is it time to feed your gift by using it?

Dear God, thank you for the gifts You have given me so freely. Help me find ways to use them for Your glory so I won’t lose them and so others may be blessed by them. Amen.

Take Action

Understand what your spiritual gifts are, how they show up in relationships, at work, and in mercy to those less fortunate by reading a book. R. Paul Stevens looks at spiritual gifts and more in Spiritual Gifts: 8 Studies for Individuals or Groups (Intervarsity Press, 2015).