Once upon a time, a group of lower primary school kids from a town called Magharibi went to another town called Mashariki for a day-trip. All of them were playing soccer except Mtoyi. There were those calling themselves Ingwe and others Sirkal. They played in uninhibited fun save for Mtoyi who was now seen as a bit of a fall guy and only good for nudging.
Mtoyi did not like confrontations, or sports, or anything. He was the class punching bag! He was too strange to play football with the others even during the outing day.
But there is one occasion he kicked the ball, and it ended up in a bush. When the starlets went in to get the ball, they found an old wooden box containing a huge book. They ran to give the book to their class teacher called Mwarimu, who was captivated by it.
Extraordinarily the book was written in Swahili, and its Title read, Vipaji Vya Ajabu, and it related brilliant accounts of great inventors, artists, wise writers, explorers, and athletes. With every passing story, the children became more openmouthed, and they were enraptured by all those characters with exceptional gifts. Even the ever surly Swalleh smiled in amusement.
Finally, they reached the last page of the book, which narrated the origin of those great gifts and talents. Teacher Mwarimu then read it the loudest. It talked of a place in heaven called the Kisima Cha Moyo where each heart is granted its special gift before birth. A little bit of everything is used to make normal people. However, sporadically, something goes south, and some hearts end up much void than normal. In such situations, these hearts end up being filled with the last gift which makes the person outstanding. They can be bankrupt in other qualities; nonetheless, in sundry ways, they will be poles apart from everyone else.
The final line of the book read, ‘However when their gifts are discovered they accomplish pronounced achievements and become part of books like this one.”
When the teacher Mwarimu closed the book there was dead silence in the classroom. As the children thought about various gifts they possessed, Mtoyi precipitously came forth with one of his uncanny comments, albeit in seriousness, “And if you get a heart transplant, and they give you a he-goat heart, will you take on he-goat qualities?”
The whole classroom, including Swalleh, almost erupted in laughter. However, they understood that Mtoyi was exactly one of the special cases as Vipaji Vya Ajabu had designated.
They now felt guilty of every time they had laughed at his ineptness and funny twists of fate. The funny comments about Mtoyi ceased forthwith. In its place, they all, including the class bully Miraba Minne and class monitor Kwamboka, worked in tandem to try to help him discover his special gift. His gift turned out to be an improbable artistic talent. He became the greatest painter of his era.
Greeks and talents
The Ancient Greeks thought they lived in a universe crammed with gods. To them, every dissected portion of nature was guarded and ruled by a god. They also believed that creativity and inspiration were as a result of a particular god taking over someone’s mental faculty and directing them to do the extraordinary. It was described as being, ‘beside yourself’. Meaning creativity made somebody a little ‘mad’. That sounds creepy, doesn’t it?
Their great philosopher Socrates believed that inspired thoughts originated with the gods and that ideas came not when a person was rational, but when someone was “beside himself”, when “bereft of his senses”. This means that gods took away reason from individuals before bestowing them with creativity. To be gifted you had to have some degree of lunacy, so it was thought.
So creative people in ancient Greece were thought of as being under the control of gods. As the gods invaded their mental faculties, they had to abandon their reason. That is what the Greeks believed.
Now think of guys like Alexander the Great, Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Pericles, Leonidas, Pythagoras, Sophocles, Aristophanes, Aesop, Herodotus, Archimedes, Orsippus of Megara and Onamastos of Smyrna!
Proverbs 18:16 says,
“A man’s gift maketh room for him and bringeth him before great men” (KJV).
This divinely axiomatic verse lives up to the title of the Book; Proverbs. Hence examining it allows us to have a great vantage view of the unimaginable opportunities laying before us.
Each one of us has a gift. It is either in the potential or kinetic form depending on how fervently we exercise it. The potential form is the gift at rest. It is the fertile land that is lying fallow. It is the brain that is haphazardly used. It is the person who has not taken advantage of his or her gift. It is the marathoner who has not been to Olympia. It is the athlete who has not been to the Colosseum.
A gift is meant to be given (presented). And the only way it can make a room for us is when we give it out to the world. When it has been presented, then the doors towards big places are opened.
David’s gift of playing the music instruments, and smashing giants, brought him straight into the palace. But wait! David only sat in the palace after he gave out his gift; after he played the instruments; after he fell the giant.
Joseph’s gift of cracking dreams and visions paved his way to the palace. However, it should not be lost to us that this happened only after he presented the gift to the world. Daniel had the same experience.
God the Father presented His best gift to the world – Jesus Christ – and this created a room for Him in our hearts. Space was created for Him to settle in as the Trinity. By this, He taught us the importance of giving out our gifts and talents.
As we conclude, let us ponder over the words of James E. Faust.
“Each of us is a unique creation of our Heavenly Father. No two of us are completely alike. No one else has the same gifts and talents that we have been given. We should increase those talents and gifts and use them to leverage our uniqueness”