One of my favorite plants is the Passifloraceae or Passion Flower. It was named by Brazilian missionaries around the year 1700. The flower is beautifully complex and colorful. The fruit is sweet, tangy, and aromatic, often being used to add flavor and fragrance to combinations of other juices.
I am happy when I see this flower and taste its fruit. In my wanderings as a Realtor, from time to time I see the vines covering the fence of a home I am showing. Occasionally, the owner of the home will put out a basket of the fruit in the kitchen to share. Before flowering and producing fruit, the vine itself is visually unremarkable. You wouldn’t give it a second glance. This reminds me of the contemporary use of the word fruit when it comes to spiritual gifts.
Each of us is endowed by God with talents which transcend our otherwise ordinary appearance. We are said to “blossom” when we become of an age to be productive. Our efforts are called “fruitful” when the production benefits those around us. Occasionally, there is alignment with our worldly job, its compensation, and the talents which God has given us. How many times have you heard someone say, “I can’t believe I get paid to do this?” So what do we do with the knowledge of our talents? What should we do if the talents are not clear to us?
Two very different concepts come to mind. The first is to focus on what we do best. Am I gifted at teaching or have a natural bent for helping others? Am I physically strong, creative, or beautiful of appearance? Can I sing, dance, or write? Does my bread baking or stew bring pleasure to others? If you manage people well, or are highly organized, your talents can be employed by non-profit organizations. The list is endless, but your specific gift may be very obvious. Use what you do best to benefit others. By the way, you have been given that talent at no cost and it is to be shared in the same way.
Secondly, God may call you to do something completely out of character for the talents that you already seem to possess. Here is an example. I see a family on the side of the road with a flat tire, elderly grandparents, and five small children on their way to the San Diego Safari Park. I am running right on time for an appointment, and if I stop for them, I will be late. Something or should I say Someone tells me to stop and help them. I may not be able to change the tire, but I can help them get the car off the road and take them out of harm’s way. Then the person I am scheduled to meet calls and says, “I am so sorry. I am running about a half hour late.” Then I KNOW I was doing what I was intended. I was told what to do in my heart.
The other effort in this realm of learning is to ask God, and keep asking, until He tells you where and when He wants you to apply the gifts He has given you. It may take ten minutes or ten years so be patient and be open. No matter your age, if you are still here, He has a plan for you and wants you to benefit others through it.
Check this YouTube for a funny way to look at the concept: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4EPG9eNsfM&list=PLqFNppH51Hxac_AZSRHFXLJF_nNHfY7yY&index=2