When I find myself not liking the world and its inhabitants, I watch this video.
In these few beautiful moments, a group of very diverse dancers gather and willingly share their talents with busy travelers in Antwerp and, for one perfect moment, everyone is in love. There is pure, innocent and unadulterated joy in the eyes and ears and hearts of all the grateful recipients. You could see by looking at them that they were, for that brief magic interlude, not worrying about the fight they had with their spouse or bills or trouble at work. They were transformed.
These dancers weren't all professional. They chose to spend hours choreographing, practicing and staging in order to pull this off. It was a sacrifice and chances are they never got paid for this gig. It was an act of love. It was time-consuming and selfless, but the pay-off was huge.
This is the impact that sharing talents to uplift others has on crotchety old people like myself: I cannot watch it without smiling from ear to ear.
Listening to good music makes me a better human being. Reading good books makes me a better human being. Listening to a friend tell a joke makes me a better human being.
When we have talents, and they can be as simple as the willingness of these mobbers to be silly in the video, we are obligated to share those talents with those around us to make them better human beings. Talents are given to us by God for a purpose. That purpose is not to secret them away — they are to bring joy to those around us.
We all have talents. Some will be viewed by millions. Others will be shared with our family and friends. Some are obvious, others we might not even think of as talents.
Think of a time you cheered someone up when they were down, took a pot of soup to a sick friend or that time you watched those rotten kids of a neighbor so she could go to the doctor. You might not have performed a ballet, concerto or created a masterpiece in oil, but to those people, you were a godsend. You were there for them, sharing talents you might not have thought of as talents, and lifting their spirits. This is turning talents into good works and it is what we are here to do.
When God created us, he did so in his image. But he also imparted gifts to us with instructions to use them.
Figure out what you do well and make a list: baking cookies, watching children, organizing parties, telling jokes, playing the piano. Write your gifts down so you remember them when you think you are a talentless schlub.
Work hard not necessarily for improvement, although that is requisite, but practice on those you love until you can practice it with strangers.
Make a point of sharing your talent with someone at least once a week. Put some thought and prayer into it. Find ways to glorify God through the gifts he gave you.
Is there something you've always wanted to try? Chances are this is an untapped gift waiting to blossom. Don't settle for one talent. Try new things and develop them into gifts that spread good works.
Now, I'm going to share one of my talents with you. Police jokes:
Did you hear the police were looking for a midget fortune-teller? It's true. She's a small medium at large. BA-DA-DA! Ka-ching!
Oh, guess what. Some teenagers broke into the local police department and stole all the toilet seats. No arrests have been made. The police have nothing to go on.
A police paddy-wagon collided with a cement mixer. Twelve hardened criminals escaped.