What is your profession?
In the movie 300, Leonidas, king of the Greek city-state of Sparta, leads 300 men to meet up with Daxos and the other Arcadians to discuss the upcoming battle. Their families and freedom are threatened by the Persian “god-King” Xerxes and his invading army of about 300,000 soldiers in 480 B.C. When Leonidas and Daxos meet up, Daxos is surprised and complains at how so few men Leionidas has brought to the battle compared with what Daxos and the others have brought.
Leonidas says to one of Daxos soldiers, “You, there, what is your profession?”
The soldiers responds, “I’m a potter…sir.”
Leonidas asks another, “You! Akkadian, what is your profession?”
This soldier responds, “Sculptor…sir!”
Leonidas asks the final soldier, “You?”
The final soldier quickly answers back, “Blacksmith.”
Leonidas turns to his soldiers and yells, “Spartans…what is your profession?”
All of the Spartans yell, “Ahooh! Ahooh! Ahooh!”
Leonidas turns back to Daxos and his soldiers and cooly states, “See old friend, I brought more soldiers than you did!”
Sparta’s men brought their profession, their mindset, and skillsets being fully-trained warriors. The other’s had their mindsets thinking about their jobs, not being warriors.
Entrepreneur, what do you bring?
What are your natural strengths, not passions?
Prov 22:6 AMP Train up a child in the way he should go [teaching him to seek God’s wisdom and will for his abilities and talents], Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
A familiar and often wrong advice given to others is that one is to “find their passions” and pursue them with gusto. If you have ever watched any episode of American Idol, you’ll find lots of individuals who are “passionate” about singing, but can’t carry a tune in a wet paper bag. Why did they think this? Who told them they did, or did not, have a good singing voice?
An acquaintance of mine in Denver tells the story about when she ran to her mother one day after school and told her mother. “Mom, I know what I want to be when I grow up!” Her mother responded, “What?” “I want to be a writer!” she said matter-of-factly. But, her parents would have none of that. She was encouraged to attend and eventually did graduate from Harvard Law, cum laude. She then came to Denver and joined a prestigious law firm…and proceeded to really dislike it. She later quit and became, not what parents, friends, or others said she should become, but what she innately knew she should be…a writer (She also writes longhand and rarely touches a computer).
I was visiting a Jewish synagogue for Shabbat dinner and the speaker was a Yale, classically trained pianist. The Rabbi asked, “Can’t someone just will themselves to perform at a high level?” The internationally known pianist said, “I had a student that her family paid for me to train her to play the piano. She asked me one day, ‘Do you think if I ever practiced good and long enough that I’d ever be as good as you?’” To which he replied to her, “You may get good with your abilities, but you don’t have the natural talents for playing at my level.” She left and he never heard from her again. The rabbi didn’t want to hear that.
God designed each of us for a specific purpose. However, our purpose is based on our many innate and inalienable talents and abilities that we’re born with. Much like having an opera singing voice like 17 year old Jonathan in the duo of Charlotte and Jonathan in Britan’s Got Talent in 2012. With over 100 million YouTube views, he shows what can happen when you find and develop your talents. But what IF Jonathan had not auditioned. He, and the world, would never have known about his talents and they would have been buried and never put to good use. His voice is a God-given, natural talent, not willed into existence. We should all begin our journey of life discovering our talents and abilities.
God matches His tasks to develop your talents
It was not until both my wife and I took the test in the book, Strength Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath, that I truly understood that each individual is to operate in all of our natural, physical strengths and our one spiritual gift, as God has designed us. According to the test, my top five are: analytical, learner, ideation, activator, and Woo. It was not until I looked into these strengths that I discovered that these are the things I gravitate toward during my day-to-day activities. Not that I can’t do anything else, but working with these primary talents gives me my greatest joy. It’s rarely soul-sucking! I see the same thing in others.
God knows this, too. He says it right in His Word:
Matt 25:15 To one he gave five talents [each talent was up to 200 lbs of gold or silver or the five talent slave got $20 MILLION DOLLARS to invest], to another, two, and to another, one, EACH ACCORDING TO HIS OWN ABILITY; and he went on his journey [emphasis added].
Thayer’s Greek Lexicon says of the Greek word “ability,” is d??aµ?? and means, “inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth.” Notice that nowhere in this parable does it mention a spiritual gift. That’s later in the New Testament, making this word significant. We have many more natural, physical, emotional, and mental talents and abilities which we were born with. A spiritual gift is a spiritual gift is an added gift and is complementary to our natural talents and abilities. It is a grace gift added to our natural talents and abilities.
If you watch any parent who sees their child perform at their very best, they are so proud. Much like watching Formula 1 racing driver Rubens Barrichello’s son Eduardo taking him for a spin in his GT car at age 15. That’s one proud dad shedding a tear or two. It’s even more so when we’re pleasing to God and follow His calling for us, based on our natural talents and abilities for our life.
Imagine how less soul-sucking it is when we follow God’s calling for our life. Think of how much more joy we get out of doing what we’re called to do, especially when we serve others with our talents.
The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war
The header is a familiar quote among the military. The idea is that military training for battle is SO intense that any battle you come up against could be less intense. But pushing yourself also means you get to know your full capabilities. Most of us have allowed or placed limits on ourselves and do not know what we are fully capable of. These imposed limits shackle us; we need to unlock them.
But imagine you’re in a job you dislike and are ill-fitted for and your boss puts pressure on you to do and perform more. Now, compare the same pressure when you’re doing something you love and are good at doing. Here’s the $64,000 question: Between the two, which job do you think you’d perform best?
The one you love, of course.
Yet, some are not where they’re supposed to be. Have you seen the Disney movie, The Kid, yet? It’s a perfect story about finding your true calling and not chasing the money. Once you find out what all of your God-given talents are, and it may take many different exposures and efforts to figure them out, you’re now to develop them to their fullest.
Nature vs. nurture? Your natural talents and abilities—these are what you were born with and are the baseline at your birth. Living and growing, you’re to nurture all of them. It means having a growth, versus a fixed, mindset to fully develop all you’ve been given, never quitting until the day God calls you home.
Talents vs. abilities. Talents are high performance skills and are our primary focus, while our abilities are secondary, i.e. less than high performance. Both our talents and abilities must be developed, not so that we do it right once, but that we rarely do it wrong. A growth mindset is always about daily learning.
God has already given you His permission to do what you’re to do by how He has designed you with ALL of your innate talents and abilities. That’s where you start!
So, Christian entrepreneur, what is your profession? What is your calling with your talents and abilities?
Now, do you think we can get the church to realize what its mission is regarding our talents and abilities?
Eph 4:11-12 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;
So, have you found what your many talents and abilities are and want to know how to put them to work?