One of my favorite things to do is go grocery shopping. Call me crazy, but I like seeing how much food I can get within our budget. It's a challenge...go figure, I like strategy!! I slap on the old ipod and rock out to the mix that filters in my ears all the while seeking to ensure that I get a variety of goodies for my family without breaking the bank.
On my ipod I have a bunch of music that I recorded; songs that I had written when I lived under the delusion of being a rockstar. As these sweet melodies and guitar riffs rattled through my brain, it got me to thinking. Gifts and passions manifest themselves in two different ways...personal and community. Some of the things that I'm gifted in and enjoy are for my own personal growth and maturity in my faith journey with Christ. Others are meant to be shared within the context of community and relationship. The challenge is discerning which gifts are meant to be personal and which are meant to be shared in community...on top of defining what community means!! Sometimes sharing a gift and passion in community means with a small group of people, other times it means a large group of people.
There is a parable in the gospels that talks about talents and gifts. There are 4 main characters in this story: The master and his 3 servants. Two of the three servants invest their talents while the other servant burries his. The master praises the two that invested and reprimands the one that hid his talent. Usually this is interpreted to mean we need to use our gifts for the benefit of others. While I agree with this basic interpretation, I think there is more to this story. For instance, what does it mean to invest a talent? The songs that I have written are used to bring me life and joy on a personal level. At times I have had the chance to share them in community, but if my focus is for my gift and talent to be seen by others, then I think I might be missing the boat on what investing actually means.
The bottom line is that gifts and passions come from God. They are birthed in each one of us to help us grow and become whom we have been created to be. The challenge is learning the difference between using these gifts and passions personally and in community. Now that's one big puzzle if you ask me!!