I used to be a pretty good bowler. Although I never bowled a 300 game, I averaged 180 for the season in the church bowling league back in the day. Then I got busy and stopped bowling. I shudder to think how bad it would be if I picked up a ball and tried again now. I also wonder if I could practice my way back to bowling well.
Bowling well takes eye-hand coordination, discipline, mental toughness and repetition. Those same skills, I believe, could make me a decent golfer if I ever took up the sport seriously. In my fantasies. Even as an old guy. Anyone who has played with me in a church golf scramble understands the wildness of those fantasies!
I finished high school 3rd in my class of 401 students. I've always excelled in academics, and the ability to learn, to process, to remember and to study served me well in going on to earn both a Bachelor's degree and a Master of Divinity degree in preparation for ordination as a United Methodist Pastor. Those same skills have been put to use every week for my entire adult life studying in order to preach, teach and lead.
Working with my hands on mechanics or carpentry, on the other hand, are latent, undeveloped skills, if I have them. I pretty much have two left thumbs. If I walk through the house with my drill, Shirley asks suspiciously, "Where are you going with that?"
Psalm 139:14 says: "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." (NIV)
If God called me to be a professional bowler, instead of a Pastor, I believe I could have taken the talents He has given me and honed them to make a living and provide for my family. And He could have used me in the relationships I would had with other bowlers, with fans, and with the media to make a witness and to minister to others.
The same academic ability that has been spent creating sermons and leading Bible studies could have been used by God to prepare me for any one of a number of other professions. My dad suggested to me while I was in high school that I should consider becoming an accountant, since I was so good at math. I believe I could have been an excellent accountant, and God could have used me for ministry in that field.
We are fearfully and wonderfully made. We all have talents. And we all lack talents. No one is good at everything. And everyone is good at something. Or could be good at it with training and coaching and practice.
The great question is: How am I using the abilities God has given me to live my life for His glory?
The abilities and talents God has gifted to us can be used to make a more comfortable life for ourselves, or to serve others. Or both. The question is not whether we have talents and abilities that could glorify God. The question is whether our talents and abilities are consecrated to Jesus who gave His life for us so they are available to use to serve others and glorify Him.
Maybe this summer I'll dust off those golf clubs and play a couple of rounds. Maybe I'll join a league and play every week and get better. Maybe I'll take lessons from a golf pro and... Nah. I think I'll just let those dreams remain fantasies.
I wonder where I put my bowling ball?