10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 4:10-11 (NIV)
Researchers tell us that we need about 10,000 hours of practice to become proficient at something. Most people who spend that kind of time perfecting their skills feel proud of their accomplishments.
Of course, no amount of effort can make up for a total lack of innate ability. Some people aren’t built to run fast. Others will never become world-class musicians no matter how much they practice. Few people are as intellectually gifted as Einstein. But, when we have an ability, and when we work hard at developing it, we like to think that we deserve the credit for our efforts.
However, we have to ask the question, where do we get the ability to work hard? What’s the source of the focus, drive, discipline, and determination we need to spend countless hours honing our skills? Why do some people enjoy the good health that enables them to work on a physical skill? Why do others have the ability to concentrate for hours on end?
Ultimately, even the ability to develop our talents is a gift from God. That’s what Peter means when he says we need to serve “with the strength God provides.”
You may not agree with that conclusion. But, you owe it to yourself to consider the possibility that even your ability to put in 10,000 hours of practice is itself a gift from God. If it’s true, we all have some thanking to do!