Are you up to the task?

A Christian Science perspective.

Do you ever feel you lack the talents needed to pursue a desired goal? Or unsure you have the ability to accomplish a challenging work assignment?

In such situations, is there anything to do to rise to the occasion and make the most of your talents?

The study of Christian Science has helped me understand how to trust God as the source of all ability and talent. God, divine Mind, provides the qualities needed to accomplish the tasks we’re called upon to do. The Bible says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above” (James 1:17).

Christ Jesus’ parable of “the talents” (see Matthew 25:14-30) illustrates how important it is to develop and use the abilities and gifts that have been divinely bestowed on us. According to “The Interpreter’s Bible,” the modern use of the word “talent” is derived from that parable (see Vol. VII, p. 559). Mary Baker Eddy, the author of the Christian Science textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” also believed that it’s essential for each individual to make the most of his or her God-given abilities. She wrote, “The talents He gives we must improve” (p. 6).

How can we best do this? I’ve found that a good place to start is to turn away from a personal sense of ego and intelligence. Mrs. Eddy recognized the human tendency to rely on this sense of ego and ability that is necessarily limited. She wrote: “Mortals are egotists. They believe themselves to be independent workers, personal authors, and even privileged originators of something which Deity would not or could not create” (p. 263).

The spiritual approach to talent and ability is radically different. The Bible tells us that Jesus himself turned to God as the source of his ability. “I can of mine own self do nothing,” he said (John 5:30). And, on another occasion, he said, “[T]he Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works” (John 14:10).

If I’m facing a difficult task, I’ve found that being willing to humbly acknowledge God as the source of ability enables me to become receptive to the outpouring of God’s ideas. The more we divest our thought of hindering, limiting traits and beliefs, such as egotism, the more we become like a clear, transparent window through which God’s qualities can shine forth.

Christian Science reveals that each of God’s sons and daughters has the divine capacity to do this – to reflect intelligence, insight, intuition, originality, and all the God-given qualities needed in any situation where talent is required.

I can think of many instances when I’ve felt the need to turn to God for the intelligence and capacity to fulfill a project or assignment. There have been times when I didn’t know where needed ideas would come from, and I didn’t feel adequate to the task at hand. But I’ve found that willingness to acknowledge God as the source of my ability, to quiet thought to listen to the ideas that are coming from Him, and to move forward step by step with humility and trust, provides the needed ability. Then it’s important to give credit where credit is due: to thank and praise God for what He has done.

Eddy described what is possible for the individual who is willing to turn to God as the source of ability: “A knowledge of the Science of being develops the latent abilities and possibilities of man. It extends the atmosphere of thought, giving mortals access to broader and higher realms. It raises the thinker into his native air of insight and perspicacity” (Science and Health, p. 128).

The ultimate talent and ability we all have is that of healing and helping others. Jesus exemplified this ability to the utmost, and it is available to all who are willing to cultivate the spiritual qualities necessary to exercise it. God blesses this endeavor as He does the expression of all God-given ability. It is God’s will that each of us achieve the promise He has bestowed upon us: to express the divine nature and intelligence by bringing our talents and abilities to fruition.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.