Weekly Impact is written for leaders by our former Executive Director, Garth Jestley, who has decades of experience in senior leadership roles in the financial services sector. Each week he will share insights on life, leadership and faith.
LIE #2: WE CAN BE ANYTHING WE WANT TO BE!
“If you have money, power, and status today, it is due to the century and place in which you were born, to your talents and capacities and health, none of which you earned. In short, all your resources are in the end the gift of God.” ~Tim Keller
“God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.” ~Eric Liddell, Olympic Gold Medalist
The burgeoning self-help industry regularly promotes the idea that each of us has the potential to achieve whatever we want. The sky’s the limit! In this vein, Tony Robbins, popular self-help guru, has said, “We can change our lives. We can do, have, and be exactly what we wish.”
With due respect to Robbins, that assertion is simply not true. Had I wished to be an Olympian when I was younger and trained diligently under the direction of a world class coach, I would never have won an Olympic marathon in my lifetime. That said, I actually would have won the first modern Olympics held in Athens in 1896 with my time in one of my New York marathons, which was seven minutes faster than that of the winner in 1896! How times change! Anyhow, I’m not remotely in Eric Liddell’s league (see quote).
In reality, we all have different types and levels of talents. For example, while not a mathematical virtuoso, I am nonetheless gifted in this area. I have a natural inclination to explore the quantitative dimension of problems and opportunities. I even like statistics! In addition to the talents with which we’re born, God gives believers in Jesus different spiritual gifts to empower them to fulfill His unique call on each of their lives.
As a follower of Jesus, I trust the biblical explanation of talents. Specifically, as per Keller’s quote, God, the creator and sustainer of all life, has uniquely positioned and gifted everyone. In a letter written by the Apostle Peter, he says, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms…so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.”
As Peter makes clear, God is the one who allocates talents with the ultimate goal of bringing glory to Him. As discussed in an earlier post on inequality, some may perceive God’s allocating different gifts to different individuals as unfair. To me, however, it reflects the extraordinary wisdom of God, who sees the whole picture.
Just as God is one essence in three persons and thus has eternally experienced the joy of relationships within the Trinity, He has designed us to experience the joy of relationships with others. One way He accomplishes this goal is through the unequal distribution of talents.
Here’s a thought experiment. Consider a world populated by individuals every one of whom has exactly the same types and levels of talents. This imaginary scenario would be most unlikely to promote interdependence and harmony. Indeed, it seems to me a formula for chaos!
Next week, I will address the big lie that peace and troubles are mutually exclusive concepts.
Garth Jestley is a husband, father, grandfather, leader and business executive. Most importantly, he is a follower of Jesus Christ.