When we hear the word talents, we often think of the ability to do extraordinary things: play the piano or violin with great skill, hit a 405 ft. home run, write prize-winning poetry, win five Academy Awards, lead a major business or organization successfully, perform complex brain surgery.
But there are other talents I admire that may not be as obvious or as showy, but are, in the long run, more important for daily living. In fact, these talents often make extraordinary talents possible. Here are five of those talents.
Patience. Patient people are good at waiting. They do not need to see immediate results of their labors. Closely aligned to patience are these satellite talents: self-discipline, calmness, tolerance, perseverance. People who need the most patience (in my humble opinion) are parents, teachers, farmers, and anyone who is ill.
Pleasantness. Pleasant people are just plain nice, that is, they are enjoyable to be with. Satellite talents include friendliness, approachability, kindness and consideration for others. Being pleasant consistently demands energy and self-forgetfulness. There are times, of course, when we should be upset and even angry–especially in the face of injustice. But consistently pleasant people are an asset to any family, workplace, and community. They incarnate the Golden Rule.
Being a life-long learner. Learners know they don’t know it all. That’s why they are always seeking new information, insights, and answers. (The fact that you read this blog is a good sign that you have this talent!) Learners are not set in their ways, for new knowledge often results in change–change in attitude as well as behavior. And change, for most of us, is not easy. Satellite talents include humility, curiosity, the ability to listen well, and daring.
Belief in a loving and challenging God. Faith in a Divine Power who is both loving and challenging is a vital component of a healthy spirituality. We need faith in a God who is absolutely loving–regardless of the unloving things we may do. At the same time we need faith in a God who challenges us, who constantly calls us to greater love and compassion for others. Satellite talents would be prayerfulness, hopefulness, and trust.
Humor. In a crowded room, I naturally tend to gravitate toward individuals with a good sense of humor–especially if that humor is coupled with love for others and for life itself. My best friends all make me laugh. In fact, I think we hone each other’s sense of humor. Satellite talents are broad-mindedness, playfulness, and joy.
Look over the five talents. Which ones do you already have–at least to a significant extent?
Which one(s) might you be called to develop more?
Did Jesus have these five talents?
Which other talents would you add to this list? Why?
Do you know anyone who possesses these talents to a great extent? Who?
PS: Thank you for your prayers for my annual retreat. I got back Sunday evening after spending a week in Florida on the Gulf. It was a beautiful and rich experience. As I promised, I remembered all of you in my prayer. In a future blog, I’ll share a few thoughts on the retreat.
I’m offering two videos today. The first is a song; the second a 4 minute movie. The song is entitled “We All Have Gifts to Share,” written by Susan Kay Wyatts. This song is often sung by school choirs.
The second video is called “With a Piece of Chalk.” This video really touched my heart. At first it might seem like a movie about bullying. But I think it goes deeper than that. I’d be interested in what you felt/thought about it.
Please respond to this reflection and/or the videos below. We would love to hear from you!