On Using Our Talents
Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion Article from All-Creatures.org


Stephen Kaufman, M.D., Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

On Using Our Talents 

Reflecting further on last weekís theme of utilizing our talents, I am reminded of Ernest Beckerís comment to young mothers who asked him what they should say when their children are old enough to ask where babies come from. Becker said that they could talk about the egg and the sperm and the baby growing in the motherís womb, but they wouldnít really be true. To be honest, Becker observed, we really donít know where babies come from. Similarly, we donít know where our talents come from Ė we just have them.
Perhaps, as many believe, talents are gifts from God. However, I think such a view requires the adoption of an uncomfortable corollary, which is that disabilities come from God as well. None of us is totally able-bodied, and none of us is without talents. If the source of our strengths and limitations is unclear, an even more profound mystery is the source of life. How does a collection of inanimate atoms become a feeling being with subjective experience? To attribute this to a divine being seems like a reasonable hypothesis. It follows, in my view, that in awe and in gratitude we should dedicate what talents we have to serving God, the evident source of our being.
In the poem Two Tramps in Mud Time, Robert Frost wrote:

My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.
 For the many people who do not have the luxury of unifying work and avocation, I agree with Sam Keen, who said in his wonderful book Hymns to an Unknown God that our work should not do violence to our values. A difficulty is that many of us work for corporations, and corporations exist to make money, not to enhance societal well-being. In future essays, Iíll explore the challenge of making a living while maintaining oneís values. 

Go on to: Following Christ and Making a Living, part 1: Some Notes about Corporations
Return to: Reflection on the Lectionary, Table of Contents 

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