A light snow had just covered the wooded area in front of the lake behind our home. There was gentle calmness in the movement of the water. At that time of year there were no boats on the lake or people swimming in it. All appeared so undisturbed.
Appreciating that beauty reminded me of something I had read about God. God is identified as Soul in the book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. As sons and daughters of God, we naturally reflect Soul-full qualities. Some of these are beauty, joy, peacefulness, grace, calmness, inspiration, harmony.
In any walk of life we can express the qualities of Soul. They are unlimited. It's wonderful to recognize and appreciate that creative ability comes from God. For example, a floral designer could look for ways to express specific qualities such as gracefulness, orderliness, and beauty in his or her work. This would make that individual's arrangements more pleasingly attractive. Another example might be found in photography; the expression of the qualities of Soul on the part of the photographer would bring a beautiful quality to his or her pictures.
There is an added blessing to giving God credit as the source of our abilities, and that is the elimination of false responsibility and limitation. This allows us more ability to let our talents grow and bless others. False responsibility is linked with egotism; it can create anxiety, pressure, and fear. If we think we are doing our work alone, then we very well may feel burdened. But creating the perfect floral arrangement, capturing a lovely moment on film, playing a piece of music that uplifts, are all done freely when we turn to God for our help. Knowing that God is the source of individual talents opens the way to new possibilities.
As the Bible shows, Christ Jesus was absolutely free of egotism. When he healed people he gave God the credit for the healing power. At one time Jesus healed a man who hadn't walked for thirty-eight years (see John 5:1-9). He was persecuted for this and was accused of making himself equal with God. This was Jesus' reply: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise" (verse 19).
Mary Baker Eddy wrote the book mentioned earlier, Science and Health, which is the Christian Science textbook. Her love of God and her growing understanding of His nature as the source of all good led her to say here: "God is not separate from the wisdom He bestows. The talents He gives we must improve" (p. 6). It is easier to learn of and develop our abilities as we see their source in God.
One day not long ago I went to a flower shop. The designer agreed to alter one particular floral arrangement so that it would harmonize with the colors in my home. Talking with her while she worked, I thought of some of the ideas I have mentioned here. I was feeling such a deep appreciation for God and for the wonderful way in which this woman was expressing Soul's qualities, utilizing her talent for arranging flowers. Then she turned, stopped her work, looked directly at me, and said, "Usually working like this makes me nervous and upset; why do I feel so calm around you?" She was waiting for an answer.
I was a bit surprised but replied, "I'm feeling calm and patient, and I appreciate your talent. Perhaps you are just responding to those thoughts." I never mentioned God or religion. Still, I felt that there had been a moment of God's love shared here, and that she had felt it, too. She smiled and finished the arrangement.
Looking to God, the Soul of each of us, as the origin of all talent opens the way for continual development of our abilities. Recognition of God as our source, and sincere gratitude to Him for His goodness, give freedom. Our special talents come to light, expand, and blossom.