Making the Most of What You Have
Being Faithful with What God has Given You
When I was in the fifth grade, I wanted the lead role in our school play, but the teachers didn’t choose me. Nevertheless, I imagined that the girl who got the lead wasn’t going to be able to play the part, and the teachers would have to pick me after all. I dreamed about it and I enjoyed playing that part in my mind. But it didn’t happen that way.
I was dreaming about playing the role, but I wasn’t preparing; I wasn’t learning the lines or memorizing the steps. If the teachers had called on me, I wouldn’t have been able to play the part.
God doesn’t want us to merely sit around dreaming about things we can do and be. That’s a good place to start, but a poor place to stop. God wants us to turn our dreams into action. We all have untapped gifts and talents inside us, and the way to develop our potential is by stepping out in faith and making the most of every opportunity.
It’s not how much you have, but it’s how you use what you have that matters. Are you making the most of the gifts and talents God has given to you?
God is not moved by excuses.
He’s not inclined to help us when we feel sorry for ourselves. No, God is moved by faith. When we step out in faith and use the talents He’s given us, we show that we trust God, that we believe He will bless our actions and cause us to succeed.
Sometimes God presents opportunities that look insignificant, or rather ordinary. Perhaps you don’t see how they fit into the big picture for your life. But if God is asking you to do something, He has a purpose for it. You just need to be faithful, and when you’re diligent in handling the little things, God can increase and promote you to larger responsibilities.
Years ago, Joel was working in the television department at Lakewood Church, and his father, John Osteen, was the senior pastor. One day, the woman who did “Daddy’s” hair and makeup for the television broadcast decided to leave. The stylist’s departure was on such short notice, we couldn’t find anyone to replace her. So guess who got the job?
Joel’s dad said, “Victoria, would you fill in until we can get a replacement?”
I was in a quandary. I wanted to help, but I had no professional training in doing hair and makeup. Nevertheless I said, “Okay, I’ll do it. If you trust me with your head, that’s good enough for me.” Pastor Osteen was brave. That’s all I’m going to say.
He liked the way I did his hair, and I didn’t mind doing it. I loved Joel’s father as my own. We were so close; he treated me like his daughter.
But it was a huge commitment because I had to be at the church for every televised service. I remember one weekend, my mother’s side of the family was having a reunion in Georgia, and I really wanted to go because I knew it would be so much fun. But I thought, I can’t go. I have this commitment. Daddy’s depending on me to do his hair. So I called my family, and said, “I’ll not be at the reunion.”
A few of my relatives said, “I cannot believe Victoria just does Pastor Osteen’s hair and makeup. I think she should be doing something more important.”
Those comments hurt my feelings and tempted me to look at what I was doing in a negative light. But the truth of Scripture kept reminding me, “If you’ll be faithful with the little, God will make you ruler over much.”
Obviously, we could have brought in a professional hair-stylist and make-up artist to take over my duties, but Pastor Osteen felt comfortable with me. So I did my best to serve God by helping Daddy to look good on television. I now realize God was teaching me so many lessons during that time. He was teaching me about commitment, self-discipline, and sacrifice, sticking with it even if I didn’t want to, even if there was something more exciting going on somewhere else, even if I couldn’t see where my mundane service position was leading me. I prayed, “Father, if this is what You have for me, and this is what You want me to do, I’m going to be the most faithful person You can find.”
How do you show God you’re willing and able to handle more?
By being faithful with what you’ve been given. You may think you’re working at some meaningless job, or you’re just raising your kids, or you’re doing something that seems ordinary, it’s not exciting; you can’t see where it’s leading you. Let me encourage you to be faithful. Stick with it. Give it your all. Keep a good attitude, and God will increase you. If you will be the best that you can be right where you are, God will promote you and give you more.
Understand that those silent times — those times when God is doing something in your life that doesn’t seem to make sense — those are times of growth. God is working on your character. That’s when God is preparing you, and if you’ll be faithful and pass the test, you’ll be ready for promotion.
Many people are not willing to go through the tough times. They’re not willing to stick it out. They’re not willing to use their talents for God when their efforts go unnoticed. Some people don’t use their gifts and talents because they’re in a negative circumstance. Maybe they don’t like the job they’re in. Or they’re constantly around people that they dislike.
So they’re sitting back waiting for God to move them and give them another opportunity, to put them where they can more easily use their gifts and talents. Then they’ll have a good attitude and do what God has told them to do. But the Bible teaches us to make the most of every opportunity, not just when the circumstances are fun and exciting. No, we have to use our gifts and talents no matter what situation we’re in.
I think about Joseph. He was sold into slavery. If anybody had a right to have a bad attitude and feel sorry for himself, Joseph did. But Joseph realized that God had placed leadership qualities and administrative skills in him, so he continued to develop his potential in spite of his negative circumstances. He was falsely accused and thrown into prison, but he kept using the gifts God had given him, even there. Joseph did the right things although wrong things were happening to him. Before long, Joseph was promoted to be in charge of the entire prison, and because of his persistence and his discipline, he continued to rise to the top, eventually becoming the second highest official in the country of Egypt.
The Bible says that your gifts and talents will make room for you. That means if you’ll stick with it, be persistent, and continue to use what God has given you, those gifts will cause you to move forward and help you to make progress in your life. You will rise to the top.
You have a deep well of talent on the inside of you, but the only way to get that talent up and out of you is through persistence. You must be determined. You’ve got to learn not to embrace the obstacles but embrace the opportunities. When we stay with it and do our best, listening to God and learning the lessons that He wants us to know, He’ll draw those deep talents out of us.
One of my husband’s greatest gifts is persistence. He is not afraid to embrace the opportunities that are in front of him. When Joel worked in the television ministry at Lakewood Church, he was faithful. He worked with excellence. Joel did the right thing and he did it the right way, even when no one was looking. During those 17 years of serving behind the scenes, God was testing him and proving him. And because of Joel’s faithfulness, persistence, and dedication, God promoted him. Now, God is bringing out Joel’s deeper talents.
God wants to do something similar for every one of us. He wants to bring out the talents we don’t even know we have, and He wants to give us a greater opportunity to be of service.
But our untapped talent and potential will lie dormant for a lifetime unless we’re willing to get busy where we are right now, doing what God is showing us to do. We can’t just sit around waiting for the big opportunity, dreaming about all the wonderful things that God wants to do in our lives. No, we need to invest our talents wisely right now.
If you have a desire to sing, join the choir. Don’t sit around and wait for a major recording company to sign you up to some big deal. If you have a desire to teach or to minister, join the Children’s Ministry. What better impact could you have than to teach children the goodness and faithfulness of God?
Our nine-year-old son, Jonathan, loves to go to Children’s Church because of Mr. Ed. No, Mr. Ed is not a talking horse. He draws. He uses the gift that God has given him to draw Bible stories. No telling what doors God is going to open for Mr. Ed.
Use what God has given you; make the most of every opportunity. And remember, if God is placing an opportunity in your path, He’s given you the ability to do it. No matter how big or how small your talent, if you’ll be faithful and invest it for Him, God will bless and increase you.