I was listening to some Sport’s Radio talk show hosts lamenting that their hometown Houston Astros were off to the worst start in baseball (2010). But the complaining, from both broadcasters and callers, was not the abhorrent lack of skill or talent on the team this year. We all knew that and expected it ahead of time. Rather, it was the lack of “fire” or “desire” that the players seemed to exhibit in practice, warm up, and in game time. One announcer put it best by saying, “You don’t need talent to hustle.” In Houston, and for true sports fans, that’s what we want to see. Regardless of circumstances, we want guys who will try, who will fight, who will give it their all. We can forgive them for not being the most talented (after all, they are more talented than us), but we are less lenient on those who just don’t put in the effort.
When it comes to being a disciple of Christ, we need to understand the same principle, that “It doesn’t take talent to hustle.” The scriptures don’t refer to it as “hustle” of course; but rather, it is called “zeal”. And it is an undeniable truth that “zeal” has virtually nothing to do with talent. That is, one can exhibit a maximum amount of zeal and yet have zero talent. Just take a quick look at the pop culture phenomenon “American Idol”, and you will see tens of thousands of people who are exuberantly zealous and completely void of talent. As a Christian, a lack of talent will never hinder our service to the Lord, but a lack of zeal will. It doesn’t take talent to go to bible class, go to worship service, to pray, to sing, to partake of the Lord’s supper, to follow a sermon, or even to give
(Lk 21:1-4 – Poor Widow). It just takes zeal.
Zeal is not an ability… it is a choice; and it is also a “purpose” that should possess every disciple of Christ. For Christ, “… gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.” (Titus 2:14) It was purposed within us as Christians to be zealous for the works of our Savior. None of the works described in Chapters 2 or 3 take talent, they all merely take “will” and “zeal”; not abilities, but choices. Christ chose us in giving Himself to redeem us, and He expects us to choose Him daily by choosing to live zealously in righteousness. We must not blame our lack of service to the Lord on a lack of “talent” that He has not given us. Service to God doesn’t require talent! Lack of service can only be blamed on one thing… ourselves; our own lack of heart.
May we also see the blessing that zeal is not a talent but a choice. When looking at the holy Apostles, chosen by our Lord, what made them so equipped to serve as preachers and teachers? Were they scholars? Were they scribes, or priests, or religiously talented leaders? NONE OF THE ABOVE! They were fishermen, a tax collector, a tentmaker. They were possibly talented at their jobs, but hardly in any religious or leadership sense. They were ordinary when it came to talent, but they were extraordinary when it came to zeal. They were zealous to the point of death, for serving the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a blessing that the Lord is not basing our worth as a disciple upon our talents, skills, or abilities. He is looking at our will and our zeal; that is, are we willing to do His will, and are we willing to do it with zeal!
So take a long good hard look at yourself and ask this question, “Am I zealously doing the Lord’s will?” If you are not, may you have a heart of repentance to begin serving the Lord as you should… as He desires. If you are, then may I simply encourage you to “excel still more.” (I Thessalonians 4:1) Let us ner forget, that the Lord will forgive us for not being talented; but He will not be so lenient if we lack zeal for His will. (I Jn 5:3; Rev. 2:10; II Thessalonians 1:7-9)