As well as learning new skills, recognise what you already have

NEAALM110504D3 - St. Mary's church Greasley. Rev Dave Marvin
NEAALM110504D3 - St. Mary's church Greasley. Rev Dave Marvin

Another New Year has just begun. It’s the time when many think of new beginnings and new opportunities, time to let go of the past and look for something new in their life.

Some look to acquire a new hobby or skill, something that will refresh their life and give them the satisfaction of achieving something new and enhance their self esteem.

While I have no problem with that, in my experience I’ve found that everyone already has a unique gift or attribute.

It is not something that they necessarily have to work hard to attain, whether it is to gain satisfaction or to achieve a goal, but something that is natural, that they seem to have been born with, that’s God given.

For example, when I worked for Wilko’s, the store manager at Cleethorpes was well past his managerial sell by date, but he was a nice down to earth chap that everybody loved; the company, staff, customers alike all thought the world of him.

A downside was that he only had one tie which had the remains of his last six months breakfast, lunch and dinner down it.

He often forgot to shave, he was a chain smoker and everyone who went near him got the full impact of his habit.

But he was gifted with the ability to satisfy people’s needs.

He was also gifted with a son with learning difficulties who had a brain that could calculate mathematical questions, such as nine times 45; or six times 15 divided by nine times 27 minus 14, and he would give you an instant answer – it had to be seen to be believed!

On the surface of both father and son, nothing at all special, inside was something quite spectacular though.

I also spent time with people with severe learning disabilities who, on the surface, appeared to have no ability to communicate - that was until you took the time and effort to communicate with them.

Then you realised that they had a quality of life and an understanding that is very different to what we might imagine, and it becomes obvious that they, too, have a gift even though it might seem to be hidden away.

So, whilst I encourage people to learn new skills, I also remind everyone to recognise and use the gifts that God has already given to them and encourage others to use their gift.