Once upon a time, in the land of Gifted, lived some very miserable people. They trudged through the streets of Gifted every day carrying huge burdens on their backs. A visitor to Gifted once asked why the people of Gifted carried these heavy burdens with them day after day. The answer was surprising. The visitor was told that the townspeople were not carrying burdens but gifts from their King.

The visitor was shocked by this answer. He had to know more, so he followed a particular citizen to his home so he could ask him more questions. The townsperson set aside his burden/gift and began to explain.

It seems that as each person became a citizen of Gifted, the King bestowed upon him or her a gift picked especially for that individual. The gift was for the improvement of the town.

(“…for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,” Ephesians 4:12)

But when the visitor looked around, what he mostly saw were dilapidated, rundown buildings. The visitor asked, “If these gifts are as important as you say, why haven’t you opened them and used them?”

“Oh, we know better than that,” said the citizen with a grim shake of his head. “Citizens who got here before us opened their gifts and, well, let’s just say, ‘it wasn’t pretty.’”

“I find that hard to believe, citizen. How can opening the gift and using it for its purpose be a bad thing?”

“See for yourself. The older district is just a few streets over.”

The visitor thanked the citizen and started on his way. As he walked he was saddened by the number of empty buildings and homes. It seemed odd that a town in which every new citizen received a personally chosen gift from the King wasn’t seeing more people moving in than moving out.

Finally the visitor came to the older part of town. He could immediately see a difference in that everyone was working hard and using his or her gift…and yet, the buildings didn’t look any better maintained and the citizens seemed even more miserable than the ones in the first neighborhood.

The visitor looked around him. The first thing he saw was a citizen trying to dig a furrow for his seeds with a pencil. Another citizen was trying to hammer a nail with a shovel. Another person was trying to “mow” the lawn with butcher knife.
As the citizens worked, the visitor could hear them talking to one another. One person would say, “Why don’t you have that lawn mown yet? You’ve been working on it for days. You are so lazy!”

I’m not lazy; it’s just so hard mowing with this butcher knife, I wish the King had given me a lawn mower! I mean, what am I supposed to do with this knife? Besides, you’re not making much progress on that chair you’re building. What’s your excuse?”

“I’m not going to make any excuses. I’m just working carefully so that everything’s perfect.”

“Perfect?! Ha! How do you figure? Nobody’s ever going to be able to sit in that chair until you drive those nails in the rest of the way.”

“Well, it is really hard to drive nails with this shovel. I sure thought the King would have given me a hammer if he wanted me to build furniture.”

The third citizen sat back in his garden and sighed, “Well, you both are better off than I am. I have to plant a whole garden with this silly pencil!”

The visitor couldn’t stay quiet another second. He stepped a bit closer and cleared his throat. “Ahem. I don’t mean to intrude, but I couldn’t help hearing you talking just now and I had a thought. Sir, you with the butcher knife, maybe you could be a chef instead of a lawn keeper? And why don’t you with the shovel dig the furrows and plant the seeds. And you, there with the pencil, you should be writing about your city and the advantages of living here, not trying to garden with a pencil.

All three citizens stopped their work for a moment and looked pityingly at that visitor, shaking their heads slowly.

“You don’t understand, visitor. These are the things we’ve chosen to do. We can’t help it if our gifts don’t match. We’ve got a job to do!”

(“And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way”1 Corinthians 12:28-31)

The visitor couldn’t believe his ears! “I don’t mean to pry, but if the King gave you a shovel, maybe you should be working in the garden. Maybe the King gave you the tool for the job you should be doing.”

“That is not going to happen. I want to be a carpenter and that’s what I’m going to be.”

The visitor couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He had to ask, “But if the King is gracious enough to give you these gifts, don’t you think you should use them in the way they were intended? What if you’d be a better gardener than you are a carpenter?”

“Well, I guess we’ll never know, because the King won’t give me a hammer. So I have to struggle along trying to drive nails with this shovel. If the King would give me the right tools, I could do brilliant work for him.”

The visitor realized that these men were determined to do things their own way, so he sadly shook his head and walked away.


I hate to admit that I spent a whole bunch of years like the citizens of Gifted. I couldn’t see the gifts God had given me because they weren’t the gifts I wanted. I pouted and stomped my feet and demanded that God give me the gift I wanted …right then! Thankfully, for me and for all of us who want what we want when we want it, God waits us out, and when we’re finally done pitching our little fit, He’ll lovingly remind us of the better things He has in store for us, if we’ll give Him control of our lives.

We have a work to do for God. We need to be spreading the good news that Jesus is coming to take us home as quickly as possible so that we can go home soon.

“‘Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant’… After stating that though the Spirit is one it has diversities of operation, and explaining what those diversities are, he introduces the figure of the human body, with its various members, to show how the church is constituted with its different offices and gifts. And as the body has its various members, each having its particular office to fill, and all working together in unity of purpose to constitute one harmonious whole, so the Spirit was to operate through various channels in the church to constitute a perfect religious body.”1

You and I are gifted, not as we wish, but as God needs, to profit His church.

  1. E.G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 24


Gifted — 21 Comments

  1. Perfect picture of a typical congregation in Zambia. Truly what we need is surrender without reserve. Thank you so much.

    • Or is it possible that what they have been elected to do is the very thing God HAS called them to do if they would allow God to work through them to do that work?

    • So true. Also, people covet gifts for vain glory often and operate in the flesh. Nominating comittees nominating based upon politics, favoritism, and lack of humble discernment.....spiritual nepotism is a great hindrance as well....

  2. Thanks, ours is more like the first scene. Where people were gifted but sitting & lazy to used their God given gifts.

    Thank you for the great insights.

    • Henry,
      Wasted years, wasted years, God is calling us from a life of wasted years. Will we turn around, face our Master, and let Him replace the pencil with a tractor pulling a 12 row seed sower? I am sure you wouldn't mind sitting on the tractor and letting the sower and the tractor's Detroit diesel do the work. Maybe you should make a call next week in church for those interested in spending a Sabbath afternoon once a month going from door to door encouraging people to read "Darkness Before Dawn" by Ellen White or "Almost Home" by G. Edward Reid both can be found at Adventist Book Center. After all, are we not much closer to Christ return then we were 12 years ago?

  3. We seek opportunities or elected positions in the church and if we are not privileged to hold an office; consequently, we are disappointed; moreover, in many instances, we fail to utilize the gift or gifts, which God is so merciful to give us.

    In addition, the church may not need or recognize your gift. Whereby the world is full of opportunities where we can utilize or bless others with our gifts. Do not allow pride to cause you to abandon these precious gifts while hoping for a position within the church. Make a decision to move forward because there is a desperate dying world that needs you and your gifts.

  4. Good insight Lilliane, let us all ask for the Holy Spirit to help us, after all Jesus said that as many times that we asked for He will give us. let us believe that what we are asking for will be granted and then we will have it and do the work of the lord as directed by the Spirit.

  5. Thank you for sharing that story. It made me open my eyes to my own gifts and how I was trying to use them to my advantage. Because of this story you have blessed my understanding through witnessins. Thank you.

  6. Thank you so much for this beautiful - albeit sad story. May I share it tomorrow with my Sabbath school class!!!

  7. Thank you so much for this beautiful story, howbeit, sad. It was very thought provoking. It is so sad to think that some of us have special gifts, but chooses to do nothing with them. God will ask each of us how his kingdom is better off since he blessed us with time, special talents, and resources. Those of us who choose not to use our talent/gift is like the person who buried his talent. The end result was he/she went through life not fulfilling his purpose. How sad is that?

  8. I enjoy your stories, though they seem so sad a lot of time.But Its usally encouraging when you end with something positive.I'm so glad when Jesus told His parables that He usually ended with encouragement letting us know He is the Way the Truth and the Life, all three[3] in One. Sometimes I refer to the Lord in the past, some refer to Him in the future(Prophets); but I know and belive He IS in the present, or I`AM. John said I dont know what I`m going to be like but when I see Him again I know I`m going to be like Him (1 John 3:2). Because we are saved by Grace not of works so that none can boast (Eph 2:9). No not Any One!!! read John 11:23-26.

  9. wonderful insights into why our churches are not moving forward when they are supposed to be . Amazing

  10. My name is Shirley Syrus, I'm a member of Shiloh SDA Church of Little Rock Ar. Pastor James Roberts is My, pastor. He is the fifth pastor that I have had sense joining the church in 1989. my greatest and most heartfelt issue , with this Church that I have come to love so very much is that before I became an Adventist I keep God's Sabbath as best as I knew how. But I was a member of a Pentecostal church. And I still believe in what I was taught, and what I have studied about the gift of tongues, I have this gift and I have had it sense age 14. I don't think or believe that what the church teaches is all conclusive .and although I don't use my gift at my church, out of respect for their belief I do in my prayer time. and I'm ok with this. my concern is that there are others like me, who has come into the knowledge of the true Sabbath but what they believe about the gift of tongues is just as strong as what they believe about the Sabbath, therefor having to make a choice between going on some where else and having to worship on a Sunday or some other church that keep Sabbath but none of the other teaching that our church teach.

    • Hi Shirley from Shirley,
      Please share with me what you have learned from the Bible about the gift of tongues so I can understand and then God willing maybe together we can resolve your concerns.
      Regards, Shirley


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