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I heard a story about a famous violinist who played a concert at Carnegie Hall. After the performance a woman came up to him and said, “I’d give my life to play like that.” To which he answered, “Madam, I did.”

My piano lessons started when I was eight and continued through college years. I practiced faithfully every day for an hour. But that was my limit of concentration and back stamina. My brother, on the other hand, could practice for hours. So he became more proficient than I. Sometimes I wonder if I should have done more in order to reach my full potential.

But goals play an important part in pursuing our potential. I had no interest in becoming a concert pianist. I just wanted to be a good church pianist. And I reached that goal. I also wanted to be a composer, so I studied that in college and grad school. It was the same with singing. Even though I may never have reached my full potential, I became a skilled professional musician. And what counts the most is that my skills have been  used by the God who equipped me with potential and the drive to develop that potential.

Each of us is endowed by our Creator with unique talents and gifts. Just because you don’t have musical abilities doesn’t mean that you are not talented. What potential has God instilled in you? Think about it until you come up with something. And don’t overlook the “little things.” What have you done or what are you doing to develop these talents? Why do you think God blessed you with them? I think it’s to serve Him. Isn’t He worthy of our best service?

What goals do you have? What motivates you to reach those goals? Is it love for God? Or is it money or popularity?  One of Paul’s goals was “to know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” (Philippians 3:10). That’s kind of weighty, isn’t it? Yes, I want to know Him and know His power in my life. But to share His suffering? That’s a tough one. But suffering, enduring hardship, persevering, even giving up our lives for Jesus produces eternal qualities and blessings that come no other way.

“With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers, as an act of intelligent worship, to give him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to him and acceptable by him. Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold, but let God re-mold your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity” (J. B. Phillips). Isn’t that potential worth all of our effort?


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