Actually, God could make Stradivarius violins without Antonio, but He chose not do to that. Instead, God gave Stradivarius his skill and through it the instruments that bring music that warms the heart and inspires the soul.
God has given you skill too. Peter tells us this:
Following Christ includes exercising your gifts. What are you doing with yours? Here are four ways to "Stradivarize" your God-given skill:
1. Identify it
I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. Romans 12:3 ESV
We honor God when we take an honest inventory and assessment of the skill he has given us. How would you complete these sentences:
- God has given me skill in the area of _______________.
- On a 1 to 10 scale, I am using it at the level of ___________.
Thank God for that skill. Ask for his help to improve it.
2. Surrender it
Paul exhorted the believers in Rome "to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship" (Romans 12:1 ESV). Why is surrender so important? R. H. Mounce said,
When we surrender "our talents" we acknowledge that God is the owner and we are his stewards. Today, why not offer up this prayer as your act of surrender:
"Lord, I surrender afresh all of me to all of you. Use me to honor you today!"
3. Improve it
God commends those who get better at what they do: "Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men" (Proverbs 22:29). There are many ways to improve your skills:
- Reflect on what you do and how you can improve.
- Watch someone who is better and learn from them.
- Take a class.
Think about it: What one thing could you do today/this week/this month to sharpen the skill God has given you?
4. Serve with it
Frederick G. Gaiser said, “Is there anything the church knows about leadership that nobody else knows? Only one thing, I think: ‘Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all’”
Whether your skill has you standing at the front or "working the line," your role provides an avenue of service to others. You can start where you work, but don't stop there. God will open many opportunities for the skillful to serve.
God only made one Antonio Stradivarius. He only made one of you too! He gifted Stradivarius with skill. He has gifted you as well.
Today, offer your skill as an instrument to honor God and refresh others.
"Holiness of life rarely progresses ..." from Mounce, R. H. (1995). Vol. 27: Romans. The New American Commentary (231). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
"Is there anything the church knows ..." from Gaiser, Frederick G. 1993. To lead or to serve. Word & World 13 (1): 3. In reference to Mark 9:35.