What do you do when people have a love-hate relationship with your spiritual gifts and talents? “How dare you operate in your divine essence,” is what their rejection is actually stating. Can you handle their repudiation and still be great, or are you going to allow naysayers to define your worth and in turn wither like a dried flower? To my surprise, this predicament is more common than I first realized.
Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these powers?” they asked. “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at him.
But Jesus said to them, “Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor.”
And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith. —-Matthew 13:54-58
A couple of weeks ago I met a fellow Christian woman who is pursuing avenues to introduce to the world her artistic talent. We had a very candid conversation about how she has noticed that she receives significantly more love and support for her work from people in cities, not her hometown. Isn’t that interesting? Not really! Such behavior dates back to biblical times.
You know, God has a way of orchestrating a meeting amongst His children to meet a need. My newfound friend spoke in truth, not in bitterness. It was refreshing to hear her honest feelings about this and how she has grown to handle it with grace and humility, as I have too struggled with understanding this very thing. You see, what many people fail to grasp is that when we (specifically, Christians) are operating in our spiritual gifts and using our talents as a service to people, we are doing so by faith. The sacrifices we make are by faith. The decisions we make are by faith. The discipline we exhibit is by faith. Things you can see and those things you do not see are all connected by faith. We know that, but those who lack faith discourage. As a result, such continues the self-fulfilling prophecy and mentality that nothing good can ever come from a place such as this.
That day, my friend and I departed not knowing when or if we would see each other again. God, in his beautiful style of communicating with me, placed us again in the same place at the same time. This time, however, I was able to see her work with about two hundred other hometown people. They were impressed and gave her a standing ovation.
Knowing what I know, she is prepared to offer her hometown more of her gifts and talents. There may continue to be missed opportunities, not because of her desire but because of the rejection of gatekeepers who refuse to allow her in. By faith she is not afraid to step into unknown environments to share what God has given her. By faith she will continue to be blessed.
Don’t let the heartbreak of your neighbor’s envy or their lack of faith deter you from being a blessing to others. We are spiritually gifted and talented to share these things with and to serve others. Don’t consent with those who devalue your gifts and talents. Know your worth. If the audience before which you stand cannot see your value, or do not want to accept that you are valuable, don’t be bothered. Someone’s trash is another person’s treasure. Know that you are treasured.