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Talents to Share

Talents to Share

February 28, 2010, Broadcast #4198

We all have special aptitudes, skills, or gifts. Some people can sing or play an instrument; some are athletic; others can write or draw. Some are especially friendly; some are good listeners; others can solve problems. Whatever our gifts may be, they are best expressed when we use them to help other people.
A Chinese folktale, “Ma Liang and His Magic Brush,” tells of a poor orphan boy who had a gift for drawing. He had no paintbrush or even paper, so he used broken twigs to draw in wet sand or pieces of charcoal to draw on smooth stones. The more he drew, the more lifelike his sketches became. He longed for a paintbrush but barely earned enough money to survive. One night while Ma Liang slept, an apparition rose from the ocean and gave him a magic paintbrush. The spirit warned the boy: “If used to help others, it will bring joy and prosperity. If used unwisely, it will bring disaster.” Ma Liang soon learned the truth of those words. Whatever he painted with his new brush literally came to life. As long as he painted to help others or to fill a need, the brush blessed his life. But when others tried to take it from him or make him use it for selfish purposes, he met with disaster.1
Like Ma Liang, when we use our gifts for the benefit of others, we find joy and fulfillment in them. Recently, a widower decided that rather than staying home and feeling lonely, he would visit a retirement center and share his talent for singing. His performance touched those who listened. Some wiped tears from the corners of their eyes. No one wanted to leave when he finished. Something special took place that night because he was willing to share.

We can all share something, so don’t hide your gifts. No matter your circumstances, use your skills and talents to bless other people. You’ll find that doing so not only multiplies your ability to give but also deepens your joy in giving.

1 See Yin-lien C. Chin, Yetta S. Center, and Mildred Ross, eds., Traditional Chinese Folktales (1996), 143 -53.
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