10,000 Hours

If you are looking to be your best for God, forget talent, IQ, and experience. They are all very important, but according to researchers what differentiates the good from the best is practice. How much practice? 10,000 hours! Referencing the work of K. Anders Ericsson, leadership experts Kouzes and Posner write, "If you want a rough metric of what it takes to achieve the highest level of expertise, the estimate is about 10,000 hours of practice over a period of ten years."1 Do the math, that's about 2.7 hours a day, every day, for ten years!"

10,000 hours . . . now that is a sobering thought! Being your best is going to take work--A LOT OF WORK. As the authors write, "You won't find a fast track to excellence."2

One area in which believers should be giving God their best is with their spiritual gifts, those special God-given abilities (and the power to use them) that enable us to serve Christ and the church. Paul writes about spiritual gifts in Romans 12.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. (Romans 12:3-6 ESV)

Think about this . . . the same God who created the world has created a gift for you. That is amazing! Knowing that, wouldn't you want to honor the Gift Giver by making the best use of his gift? Of course! I think this is why Paul exhorts the church at Rome,having gifts . . . let us use them.3 I believe this is why, in part, he challenged young Timothy to,fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you.4

God's gifts deserve our best. Here are a few ways to invest some of those 10,000 hours:

  1. Engage: There are a few ways to improve the gift -- like using the gift.
  2. Reflect: Next time you use your gift think about what worked and what needs to be improved.
  3. Pray: God tells us to come to him with every need. That includes the desire to improve. Ask for his help.
  4. Observe: Watch and learn from others who have the same gift you do.
  5. Study:Click here for a link to a sermon by R.C. Sproul about gifts, or click here for more online explanation.
  6. Read: Once you know your gift, become a student of that gift. Email me if you'd like reading suggestions.
  7. Ask: This will pay huge dividends. Ask a trusted friend or leader to observe you and give constructive criticism.

God deserves our best, but don't start with the idea of 10,000 hours. Start with 1 hour. Why not devote one hour today to sharpening the gift God has given you?


1James M. Kouzes and Barryt Z. Posner, The Truth About Leadership, p. 127. 2Kouzes and Posner, The Truth About Leadership, p. 128. 3 Romans 12:6 ESV 4 2 Timothy 1:6 ESV