I just finished reading Half-Blood Blues, a fictional book by a talented Canadian writer, Esi Edugyan (New York, NY: Picador, 2011). The story is told through the eyes of Sid, a good jazz string bass player who is jealous of Hiero, a young gifted trumpet player who effortlessly masters his instrument. On page 252, Sid voices his frustrations:
“Cause I admit it. He got genius, he got genius in spades. Cut him in half, he still worth three of me. It ain’t fair. It ain’t fair that I struggle and struggle to sound just second-rate, and the kid just wake up, spit through his horn, and it sing like nightingales. It ain’t fair. Gifts is divided so unevenly. Like God just left his sack of talents in a ditch somewhere and said, Go help yourselves, ladies and gents. Them’s that get there first can help themselves to the biggest ones. In every other walk of life, a jack can work to get what he want. But ain’t no amount of toil going to get you a lick more talent than you born with. Geniuses ain’t made, brother, they just is. And I just was not.”
Sid’s jealousy boils over into destructive behaviors. What Sid doesn’t realize is that God’s love is not dependent on our level of talent or success. We were first loved and created in God’s image. Our being is not derived from our talent but is God-given from birth. Nothing we do can earn God’s love or place us on some hierarchical order of God’s love. God’s love is equally distributed.
Sid should have placed his energy into maximizing his God-given gifts. We are called by God to use and maximize our talents, whether great or small. Our competencies should serve our community, as Jesus Christ taught and witnessed during his earthly life. And finally, we are to be followers of the Holy Spirit towards the new creation. During our earthly time, we are called to be obedient servants of Christ working towards God’s kingdom. This is our ultimate mission.
When you hear or see a master at his or her occupation, take the time to thank God for this gift. In addition, thank God for your gifts and ask for the strength to use them as Christ taught. All spirit-filled work is needed to build God’s kingdom on earth and equally important to God