Are You Smarter than a 4th Grader?
My nine year old daughter is a social genius. She has a gift for interacting with people, making them feel comfortable and connecting with them. She was born that way. You could see it when she was a toddler. It’s a gift that I did not receive. I’ve learned slowly in my life how to interact effectively with people and have become proficient at it like any normal person, but I am no match for my nine year old. When we have parties at our house I give her the job of greeting people at the door. She is in her element. She has a huge smile on her face and welcomes the guests in. She has a way of making them feel welcomed and comfortable that I could never duplicate… and she is only in 4th grade! It is one of her gifts and people are delighted by it.
She demonstrates the power of the gifts that we are given. No amount of proficiency can compete with them. We are each gifted in a completely unique way. There is nobody else in the world that is capable of offering what each individual can offer. The problem is that we spend our whole lives working to become proficient at the thousand practical skills that are needed to function in this world, and we forget about our hearts. Those efforts are not without value. We need to be able to function effectively in this world, but I would argue that the only reason we need all that proficiency is so that we can win the right to offer our gifts. We need to put the proficiency in its place. It gives you access to a platform from which you can offer yourself. Sadly, in the process of building up our proficiency most of us lose sight of the gifts we are supposed to give.
Maybe we were never told that we had valuable gifts. Maybe nobody made a point of seeking us out and recognizing the gifts we have. Maybe we were told that proficiency is all that is needed in this world. Even worse, maybe we were told that our gifts were worthless and should be buried. Whatever the reason, we have to go back and find them. They have to be unearthed. I think the best place to start is your childhood, back before you became too ashamed to live out of your heart, back before you learned to meet the world’s expectations. What were you like back then? What did you love to do? If you start looking there you will begin to uncover what has been buried for so long. Perhaps it is ready to be healed and cleaned and restored. This is a big part of the reason Jesus came. We are all eager to see your gifts come forth.