Talents Christian Quotes

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Give me all of you!!! I don’t want so much of your time, so much of your talents and money, and so much of your work. I want YOU!!! ALL OF YOU!! I have not come to torment or frustrate the natural man or woman, but to KILL IT! No half measures will do. I don’t want to only prune a branch here and a branch there; rather I want the whole tree out! Hand it over to me, the whole outfit, all of your desires, all of your wants and wishes and dreams. Turn them ALL over to me, give yourself to me and I will make of you a new self---in my image. Give me yourself and in exchange I will give you Myself. My will, shall become your will. My heart, shall become your heart.
C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity)
Don’t say you don’t have enough time or enough money to change the world. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Gandhi, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci and Jesus Christ.
Shannon L. Alder
Mrs. Grey I have received three compliments on my new haircut. Compliments from my staff are new. It must be the ridiculous smile I’m wearing whenever I think about last night. You are indeed a wonderful, talented, beautiful woman. And all mine.
E.L. James
A Christian, who realizes he has been made in the image of the Creator God and is therefore meant to be creative on a finite level, should certainly have more understanding of his responsibility to treat God's creation with sensitivity, and should develop his talents to do something to beautify his little spot on the earth's surface.
Edith Schaeffer (The Hidden Art of Homemaking)
God has given you talents and opportunities. Seize them today -- not tomorrow.
Laura Story (What if Your Blessings Come Through Raindrops)
In some ways, we all are a bit like Pharaoh. When we’re riding high and on top of the world, we’re convinced that our good fortune is the result of our birthright or our ingenuity, or our talent, or our hard work. During those times, we refuse to acknowledge that everything good and everything worthwhile comes from the Lord. But God loves us enough to sometimes let life’s adversities smack us in the face as a wake-up call, to remind us that he is the source of our strength, our success, and our hope for the future.
Spencer C Demetros (The Bible: Enter Here: Bringing God's Word to Life for Today's Teens)
Pursue your passion and live your best life.
Lailah Gifty Akita (Pearls of Wisdom: Great mind)
It loves the other, not because of attractiveness, or talents, or sympathy, but because of God. To the Christian, a person is one for whom I must sacrifice myself, not one who must exist for my sake.
Fulton J. Sheen (Three to Get Married (Catholic Insight Series))
It [speaking with words that bring about harmony] consists of speaking of what is good about people, instead of what is wrong with them. For some people this is an almost impossible exercise, for they have become totally habituated to speaking critically. We all seem to have a special talent for finding critical things to say about the world, about others, and about ourselves! (117)
Jean-Yves Leloup (Compassion and Meditation: The Spiritual Dynamic between Buddhism and Christianity)
Godly womanhood ... the very phrase sounds strange in our ears. We never hear it now. We hear about every other type of women: beautiful women, smart women, sophisticated women, career women, talented women, divorced women. But so seldom do we hear of a godly woman - or of a godly man either, for that matter.We believe women come nearer to fulfilling their God-given function in the home than anywhere else. It is a much nobler thing to be a good wife, than to be Miss America. It is a greater achievement to establish a Christian home than it is to produce a second-rate novel filled with filth. It is a far, far better thing in the realms of morals to be old-fashioned, than to be ultra-modern. The world has enough women who know how to be smart. It needs women who are willing to be simple. The world has enough women who know how to be brilliant. It needs some who will be brave. The world has enough women who are popular. It needs more who are pure. We need women, and men, too, who would rather be morally right than socially correct.
Peter Marshall
I pledge allegiance to myself and to my Soul for which I stand. I honor my goodness, my gifts, and my talents. I commit to remaining loyal to myself from this moment forward for all of my days.
Christiane Northrup (Dodging Energy Vampires: An Empath’s Guide to Evading Relationships That Drain You and Restoring Your Health and Power)
Simon laughed heartily. “I’m afraid the rest of us have to find talents to get our women into bed. Of course once they’re there, I have other talents that keep them right where they are.” “Handcuffs hardly count,” Christian said offhandedly. “If you mean the ladies cuffing me to the bed so they can explore Hunt Island,” he said, rubbing his chest, “…then point taken. These hands are capable of making any female climax by the mere brush of a pinky across her bare breast.” “I must have gone to the wrong island,” I said with a private laugh.
Dannika Dark (Impulse (Mageri, #3))
Okay, God, I have these dreams and these desires and talents, and they seem to be leading me in a particular direction. So show me where they need to shift and change to be Your dreams and Your desires.
Mike Donehey (Finding God's Life for My Will: His Presence Is the Plan)
Some people have a warped idea of living the Christian life. Seeing talented, successful Christians, they attempt to imitate them. For them, the grass on the other side of the fence is always greener. But when they discover that their own gifts are different or their contributions are more modest (or even invisible), they collapse in discouragement and overlook genuine opportunities that are open to them. They have forgotten that they are here to serve Christ, not themselves.
Billy Graham (Hope for Each Day: Words of Wisdom and Faith)
He gifted the people He made with an echo of His creative power.
Sharon Hinck (Hidden Current (The Dancing Realms, #1))
Nobody can go off to battle unless he is fully convinced of victory beforehand. If we start without confidence, we have already lost half the battle and we bury our talents. While painfully aware of our own frailties, we have to march on without giving in, keeping in mind what the Lord said to Saint Paul: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9). Christian triumph is always a cross, yet a cross which is at the same time a victorious banner borne with aggressive tenderness against the assaults of evil. The evil spirit of defeatism is brother to the temptation to separate, before its time, the wheat from the weeds; it is the fruit of an anxious and self-centred lack of trust.
Pope Francis (Evangelii Gaudium: The Joy of the Gospel)
The more we give of ourself, the more we find ourself.
Lailah Gifty Akita (Think Great: Be Great! (Beautiful Quotes, #1))
The courage to dream, the courage to act.
Lailah Gifty Akita (Pearls of Wisdom: Great mind)
Each day the Spirit of God assured me that He wasn’t looking at my intellect or talents, but my yieldedness. Some of what I have found in the beauty of Christ’s humility I have chronicled in this second manual. Many Christians know they are called to a destiny in God, yet Jesus warns that though many are called, few are chosen. Here, in Isaiah 66, He reveals what He’s seeking: humility, contriteness of spirit and a heart that trembles at His word. He says, “To this one I will look.
Francis Frangipane (Humility)
The theology she taught was unsophisticated, but it provided a message I needed to hear. To coast through life was to squander my God-given talent, so I had to work hard. I had to take care of my family because Christian duty demanded it. I needed to forgive, not just for my mother’s sake but for my own. I should never despair, for God had a plan. Mamaw
J.D. Vance (Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis)
The Christian life can be explained only in terms of Jesus Christ, and if your life as a Christian can still be explained in terms of you -- your personality, your willpower, your gift, your talent, your money, your courage, your scholarship, your dedication, your sacrifice, or you anything -- then although you may have the Christian life, you are not yet living it.
Ian Thomas
You can make a successful run for political office in this country without an especially thick résumé, any exceptional talent for expressing yourself, a noteworthy education or, for that matter, a basic grasp of science. But you better have religion. You better be ready to profess your faith in and fealty to God — the Judeo-Christian one, of course. And you better be convincing. A dust-up last week in the 2014 race for a United States Senate seat from Arkansas provided a sad reminder of this, showing once again that our ballyhooed separation of church and state is less canyon than itty-bitty crack.
Frank Bruni
For such is the depth of the Christian Scriptures that, even if I were attempting to study them and nothing else, from boyhood to decrepit old age, with the utmost leisure, the most unwearied zeal, and with talents greater than I possess, I would still be making progress in discovering their treasures.
Augustine of Hippo
We are endowed with different kinds of gifts for different kinds of services.
Lailah Gifty Akita (Think Great: Be Great! (Beautiful Quotes, #1))
If you've messed up big - like me, like Isaiah - congratulations! You're at the top of God's talent-scouting list.
Craig Groeschel (Dare to Drop the Pose: Ten Things Christians Think but Are Afraid to Say)
Sin, on the contrary, is the pursuit of legitimate self-regarding interests at the expense of the neighbor, by spending our time and talents figuring out ways of exploiting them.
Frederick Nymeyer
The Dance there is a cloak of sorrow wrapped about my heart oh God, where is the dance? and in the stillness comes the slow dance Christ makes my heart His ballroom
Theresa Rough PhD (Sheer Bandages: A Fragile Offering: A person should not bury a talent-no matter how small.)
We may have only a few talents, but we have many gifts. Our gifts are the many ways in which we express our humanity. They are part of who we are: friendship, kindness, patience, joy, peace, forgiveness, gentleness, love, hope, trust and many others. These are the true gifts we have to offer to each other.
Henri J.M. Nouwen (Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World)
Every day of our lives, every Christian in this world is benefiting from the wisdom and talents of non-Christians. Let us humble ourselves and learn at Jesus’ feet to be thankful for this constant reality.
Jerram Barrs (Learning Evangelism from Jesus)
A man is not usually called upon to have an opinion of his own talents, since he can very well go on improving them to the best of his ability without deceasing on his own precise niche in the temple of fame.
C.S. Lewis (The Screwtape Letters)
Mozart’s earliest symphonies, brief works written when he was just eight, hew closely to the style of Johann Christian Bach, with whom he was studying when they were written. None of these works is regarded today as great music or even close.
Geoff Colvin (Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else)
Too often, we give God only the tired remnants of our time. If Jesus Christ had given us only the remnant of His time, we would all be on our way to that darkness that knows no morning. Christ gave us not the tattered leftovers of His time; He gave us all the time He had. But some of us give Him only the leftovers of our money and of our talents and never give our time fully to the Lord Jesus Christ who gave us all. Because He gave us all, we have what we have; and He calls us "as He is, so are we in this world." (1 John 4:17)
A.W. Tozer (The Crucified Life: How to Live Out a Deeper Christian Experience)
Every cult of personality that emphasizes the distinguished qualities, virtues, and talents of another person, even though these be of an altogether spiritual nature, is worldly and has no place in the Christian community; indeed, it poisons the Christianity community.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer
To give someone a blessing is the most significant affirmation we can offer. It is more than a word of praise or appreciation; it is more than pointing out someone’s talents or good deeds; it is more than putting someone in the light. To give a blessing is to affirm, to say ‘yes’ to a person’s Belovedness.
Henri J.M. Nouwen (Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World)
So no matter what someone says, don’t become less to make someone else more comfortable. You don’t need to hide your talents or opinions or your beauty or even your sexuality. Don’t offer less of your presence, offer more. If someone has a problem with that, let them deal with it, not you. You belong here, nipples and all.
Shannon Harris (The Woman They Wanted: Shattering the Illusion of the Good Christian Wife)
Rather, the doctrine of vocation encourages attention to each individual’s uniqueness, talents, and personality. These are valued as gifts of God, who creates and equips each person in a different way for the calling He has in mind for that person’s life. The doctrine of vocation undermines conformity, recognizes the unique value of every person, and celebrates human differences; but it sets these individuals into a community with other individuals, avoiding the privatizing, self-centered narcissism of secular individualism.
Gene Edward Veith Jr. (God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life)
There’s no substitute for Christian character. No matter how much talent and training we may have, if we don’t have character, we don’t have anything.
Warren W. Wiersbe (On Being a Servant of God)
What do you have (talents,idea,contacts,a voice,strength)? God uses what you have to give you what you don't have.
Ikechukwu Joseph (Strategic Spiritual Warfare)
It is not great talents God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus. A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God.
Warren W. Wiersbe (10 Power Principles for Christian Service)
We can serve humanity with passionate commitment to our divine purpose.
Lailah Gifty Akita (Think Great: Be Great! (Beautiful Quotes, #1))
There is a greatness inherent within you. That greatness comes from God. He has bestowed each of us with unique gifts and talents to be used for kingdom building here on earth.
Gabriella Marigold Lindsay (Living F.I.T.: A 40-Day Guide to Living Faithfully, Intentionally, and Tenaciously)
How many of us dare not use our time or money or talents as we would, because we realise they are the Lord's, not ours?
Watchman Nee
Each individual has a special calling and responsibility.
Lailah Gifty Akita (Pearls of Wisdom: Great mind)
Explore your unique skills.
Lailah Gifty Akita (Pearls of Wisdom: Great mind)
So long as we do not permit faith to override our rational powers we should use those talents to explore the frontiers which lie at the outer limits of scientific observation.
Robert Christian (Common sense renewed)
The trouble is, we have up-close access to women who excel in each individual sphere. With social media and its carefully selected messaging, we see career women killing it, craft moms slaying it, chef moms nailing it, Christian leaders working it. We register their beautiful yards, homemade green chile enchiladas, themed birthday parties, eight-week Bible study series, chore charts, ab routines, “10 Tips for a Happy Marriage,” career best practices, volunteer work, and Family Fun Night ideas. We make note of their achievements, cataloging their successes and observing their talents. Then we combine the best of everything we see, every woman we admire in every genre, and conclude: I should be all of that. It is certifiably insane.
Jen Hatmaker (For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards)
This was something new. Or something old. I didn’t think of what it might be until after I had let Aubrey go back to the clinic to bed down next to her child. Bankole had given him something to help him sleep. He did the same for her, so I won’t be able to ask her anything more until she wakes up later this morning. I couldn’t help wondering, though, whether these people, with their crosses, had some connection with my current least favorite presidential candidate, Texas Senator Andrew Steele Jarret. It sounds like the sort of thing his people might do—a revival of something nasty out of the past. Did the Ku Klux Klan wear crosses—as well as burn them? The Nazis wore the swastika, which is a kind of cross, but I don’t think they wore it on their chests. There were crosses all over the place during the Inquisition and before that, during the Crusades. So now we have another group that uses crosses and slaughters people. Jarret’s people could be behind it. Jarret insists on being a throwback to some earlier, “simpler” time. Now does not suit him. Religious tolerance does not suit him. The current state of the country does not suit him. He wants to take us all back to some magical time when everyone believed in the same God, worshipped him in the same way, and understood that their safety in the universe depended on completing the same religious rituals and stomping anyone who was different. There was never such a time in this country. But these days when more than half the people in the country can’t read at all, history is just one more vast unknown to them. Jarret supporters have been known, now and then, to form mobs and burn people at the stake for being witches. Witches! In 2032! A witch, in their view, tends to be a Moslem, a Jew, a Hindu, a Buddhist, or, in some parts of the country, a Mormon, a Jehovah’s Witness, or even a Catholic. A witch may also be an atheist, a “cultist,” or a well-to-do eccentric. Well-to-do eccentrics often have no protectors or much that’s worth stealing. And “cultist” is a great catchall term for anyone who fits into no other large category, and yet doesn’t quite match Jarret’s version of Christianity. Jarret’s people have been known to beat or drive out Unitarians, for goodness’ sake. Jarret condemns the burnings, but does so in such mild language that his people are free to hear what they want to hear. As for the beatings, the tarring and feathering, and the destruction of “heathen houses of devil-worship,” he has a simple answer: “Join us! Our doors are open to every nationality, every race! Leave your sinful past behind, and become one of us. Help us to make America great again.
Octavia E. Butler (Parable of the Talents (Earthseed, #2))
Those who are given special gifts from the Kinsman have a great responsibility to use them faithfully. That doesn't mean ye won't fail. It just means ye'll have to work hard to make things right.
Dawn Ford (The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes (Firebird, #1))
Okay, God, I have these dreams and these desires and talents, and they seem to be leading me in a particular direction. So show me where they need to shift and change to be Your dreams and Your desires.
Michael Donehey (Finding God's Life for My Will: His Presence Is the Plan)
A man is not usually called upon to have an opinion of his own talents since he can very well go on improving them to the best of his ability without deciding on his own precise niche in the temple of fame.
C.S. Lewis (The Screwtape Letters)
running a successful company is all about embracing the talent of the individuals you have at your disposal. if that's where your talents and your interests lie, then you structure the company to enable that....." Christian Grey
E.L. James
Jarret supporters have been known, now and then, to form mobs and burn people at the stake for being witches. Witches! In 2032! A witch, in their view, tends to be a Moslem, a Jew, a Hindu, a Buddhist, or, in some parts of the country, a Mormon, a Jehovah’s Witness, or even a Catholic. A witch may also be an atheist, a “cultist,” or a well-to-do eccentric. Well-to-do eccentrics often have no protectors or much that’s worth stealing. And “cultist” is a great catchall term for anyone who fits into no other large category, and yet doesn’t quite match Jarret’s version of Christianity. Jarret’s people have been known to beat or drive out Unitarians, for goodness’ sake. Jarret condemns the burnings, but does so in such mild language that his people are free to hear what they want to hear. As for the beatings, the tarring and feathering, and the destruction of “heathen houses of devil-worship,” he has a simple answer: “Join us! Our doors are open to every nationality, every race! Leave your sinful past behind, and become one of us. Help us to make America great again.” He’s had notable success with this carrot-and-stick approach. Join us and thrive, or whatever happens to you as a result of your own sinful stubbornness is your problem.
Octavia E. Butler (Parable of the Talents (Earthseed, #2))
God gives out good gifts of wisdom, talent, beauty, and skill 'graciously'--that is, in a completely unmerited way. He casts them across all humanity, regardless of religious conviction, race, gender, or any other attribute to enrich, brighten, and preserve the world.
Timothy J. Keller
But although it is the case that anyone who contends that in the Catholic medieval civilization of Europe woman was on the whole reckoned as the second—not the first—sex, can support his view by examples which appear conclusive, yet it is equally certain that women who in one way or another possessed more than average ability were given a chance of developing their talents and exercising them with a freedom from interference which would be inconceivable in a society molded by Lutheranism or Calvinism. Both the one-sided Lutheran eulogy of a snug family life and the Calvinistic hatred of spiritual charm, of the imaginative and poetical element in religion, and especially the Calvinists’ glorification of the industrious accumulation of capital and their belief in economic success as a peculiar favor bestowed on God’s elect—all this resulted in a contempt for specially feminine intellectual qualities: intuition, a psychological sense manifesting itself in tact and a gentle dignity in the courtesies of life, discretion, and feeling in the work of Christian charity.
Sigrid Undset (Stages on the Road)
Our vocation and professional work is not a second class activity, something we do just to put food on the table. It is the high calling for which we were originally created. The way we serve a Creator God is by being creative with the talents and gifts He has given us.
Nancy R. Pearcey (Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from its Cultural Captivity)
Volumes have been written stating the detailed mechanics of sermon making. We have become possessed with the idea that this scaffolding is the building. The young preacher has been taught to exhaust all of his strength on the form, taste, and beauty of his sermon as a mechanical and intellectual product. We have thereby cultivated a vicious taste among the people and raised the clamor for talent instead of grace. We have emphasized eloquence instead of piety, rhetoric instead of revelation, reputation and brilliance instead of holiness. By it, we have lost the true idea of preaching. We have lost preaching power and the pungent conviction for sin. We have also lost the rich experience, the elevated Christian character, and the divine authority over consciences and lives that always results from genuine preaching.
E.M. Bounds (Power Through Prayer)
Today I'm aware of all the times I have said no to opportunities God has placed before me because I think I'm not rich enough, equipped enough, talented enough, strong enough, or crazy enough to say yes. All the times I have mistaken good things for bad. All the times I have allowed the opinions of an ignorant majority to guide my thinking instead of looking to Jesus and his heart in the matter. I wonder how many times we, his children, choose a comfortable no over a terrifying yes - the kind of yes that will lead us to the only place we should ever long to be: in the arms of Jesus.
Heather Avis (The Lucky Few: Finding God's Best in the Most Unlikely Places)
If my presence on earth is providential, I owe it to a superior will. But I owe nothing to the Church that trafficks in the salvation of souls, and I find it really too cruel. I admit that one cannot impose one's will by force, but I have a horror of people who enjoy inflicting sufferings on others' bodies and tyranny upon others' souls. Our epoch will certainly see the end of the disease of Christianity. It will last another hundred years, two hundred years perhaps. My regret will have been that I couldn't, like whoever the prophet was, behold the promised land from afar. We are entering into a conception of the world that will be a sunny era, an era of tolerance. Man must be put in a position to develop freely the talents that God has given him. What is important above all is that we should prevent a greater lie from replacing the lie that is disappearing. The world of Judaeo-Bolshevism must collapse.
Adolf Hitler (Hitler's Table Talk, 1941-1944)
Those who are diagnosably narcissistic may be talented, charming, even inspiring, but they lack the capacity for self-awareness and self-evaluation, shunning humility for defensive self-protection. Christian psychologist Diane Langberg says of the narcissist, “He has many gifts but the gift of humility.”1
Chuck DeGroat (When Narcissism Comes to Church: Healing Your Community From Emotional and Spiritual Abuse)
If you hate children, remember, God gave them innocence. If you hate youth, remember, God gave them potential. If you hate men, remember, God gave them strength. If you hate women, remember, God gave them grace. If you hate Hindus, remember, God gave them knowledge. If you hate Muslims, remember, God gave them understanding. If you hate Jews, remember, God gave them insight. If you hate Christians, remember, God gave them wisdom. If you hate black people, remember, God gave them skill. If you hate white people, remember, God gave them talent. If you hate Asian people, remember, God gave them brilliance. If you hate any people, remember, God gave them genius.
Matshona Dhliwayo
Bring it in.” Herr Reitmann's scowl had softened. “You both have some crazy notions of what going over a jump ought to look like.” He emphasized the word over. “You both have talent, I can't deny that. It wasn't a stellar performance, but I'll train you. Tomorrow morning, be here at seven.” “In the morning?” I squeaked. Now my voice worked.
Anne Perreault (Leaving My Father's House)
His whole effort, therefore, will be to get the man’s mind off the subject of his own value altogether. He would rather the man thought himself a great architect or a great poet and then forgot about it, than that he should spend much time and pains trying to think himself a bad one. Your efforts to instil either vain glory or false modesty into the patient will therefore be met from the Enemy’s side with the obvious reminder that a man is not usually called upon to have an opinion of his own talents at all, since he can very well go on improving them to the best of his ability without deciding on his own precise niche in the temple of Fame...The Enemy will also try to render real in the patient’s mind...the doctrine that they did not create themselves, that their talents were given them, and that they might as well be proud of the colour of their hair...Even of his sins the Enemy does not want him to think too much: once they are repented, the sooner the man turns his attention outward, the better the Enemy is pleased
C.S. Lewis (The Screwtape Letters)
Patriotism,” said Lymond, “like honesty is a luxury with a very high face value which is quickly pricing itself out of the spiritual market altogether. [...] It is an emotion as well, and of course the emotion comes first. A child’s home and the ways of its life are sacrosanct, perfect, inviolate to the child. Add age; add security; add experience. In time we all admit our relatives and our neighbours, our fellow townsmen and even, perhaps, at last our fellow nationals to the threshold of tolerance. But the man living one inch beyond the boundary is an inveterate foe. [...] Patriotism is a fine hothouse for maggots. It breeds intolerance; it forces a spindle-legged, spurious riot of colour.… A man of only moderate powers enjoys the special sanction of purpose, the sense of ceremony; the echo of mysterious, lost and royal things; a trace of the broad, plain childish virtues of myth and legend and ballad. He wants advancement—what simpler way is there? He’s tired of the little seasons and looks for movement and change and an edge of peril and excitement; he enjoys the flowering of small talents lost in the dry courses of daily life. For all these reasons, men at least once in their lives move the finger which will take them to battle for their country.… “Patriotism,” said Lymond again. “It’s an opulent word, a mighty key to a royal Cloud-Cuckoo-Land. Patriotism; loyalty; a true conviction that of all the troubled and striving world, the soil of one’s fathers is noblest and best. A celestial competition for the best breed of man; a vehicle for shedding boredom and exercising surplus power or surplus talents or surplus money; an immature and bigoted intolerance which becomes the coin of barter in the markets of power— [...] These are not patriots but martyrs, dying in cheerful self-interest as the Christians died in the pleasant conviction of grace, leaving their example by chance to brood beneath the water and rise, miraculously, to refresh the centuries. The cry is raised: Our land is glorious under the sun. I have a need to believe it, they say. It is a virtue to believe it; and therefore I shall wring from this unassuming clod a passion and a power and a selflessness that otherwise would be laid unquickened in the grave. [...] “And who shall say they are wrong?” said Lymond. “There are those who will always cleave to the living country, and who with their uprooted imaginations might well make of it an instrument for good. Is it quite beyond us in this land? Is there no one will take up this priceless thing and say, Here is a nation, with such a soul; with such talents; with these failings and this native worth? In what fashion can this one people be brought to live in full vigour and serenity, and who, in their compassion and wisdom, will take it and lead it into the path?
Dorothy Dunnett (The Game of Kings (The Lymond Chronicles, #1))
The discipline of theology is about learning to read Scripture more faithfully. It is also about speaking the truth of Scripture in ways that fit new contexts, new times, and new places. It is true that human beings are very talented at using reason, tradition, and experience to support our own sins. It is also true that reading Scripture well is very hard work.
Beth Felker Jones (Practicing Christian Doctrine: An Introduction to Thinking and Living Theologically)
Every disciple is a believer, but not every believer is necessarily a disciple. Anything short of discipleship, however, is settling for less than what God really desires for us. Loving God more than anyone or anything else is the very foundation of being a disciple. If you want to live your Christian life to its fullest, then love Jesus more than anyone or anything else. Either you will have harmony with God and friction with people, or you will have harmony with people and friction with God. You become a disciple in the biblical sense only when you are totally and completely committed to Jesus Christ and His Word. As a true disciple, your life won’t only be characterized by practical results and a hunger for Scripture, but you also will have love for others — especially fellow believers. Without all of these characteristics, you can’t really claim to be His disciple. A person who has been with Jesus will boldly share his or her faith. A person who has been with Jesus will be a person of prayer. A person who has been with Jesus will be persecuted. If for you, the Christian life is all about feeling good and having everything go your way, then you won’t like being a disciple. Being a follower of Christ is the most joyful and exciting life there is. But it also can be the most challenging life there is. It’s a life lived out under the command of someone other than yourself. Most prayers are not answered because they are outside the will of God. Once we have discovered God’s will, we can then pray aggressively and confidently for it. We can pray, believing it will happen, because we know it is not something we have dreamed. A forgiven person will be a forgiving person. A true disciple will harbor no grudge toward another. The disciple knows it will hinder his or her prayer life and walk with God. It is far better to sit down for an hour and talk genuinely with one person than to rattle off trite clichés to scores of people. Attending more Bible studies, more prayer meetings, reading more Christian books, and listening to more teaching without an outlet for the truth will cause us to spiritually decay. We need to take what God has given us and use it constructively in the lives of others. You were placed on earth to know God. Everything else is secondary. The more we know God, the more we should want to make Him known to a lost world. Your life belongs to God. You don’t share your time and talents with Him; He shares them with you! He owns you and everything about you. You need to recognize and acknowledge that fact.
Greg Laurie (Start! To Follow: How to Be a Successful Follower of Jesus Christ)
The equation is simple. America plus God equals greatness. America is great because America was built on a foundation of God, on a rock of Judeo-Christian principles, on a belief that the talents and courage determinations of a properly morally compassed individual might translate into a nation of exceptionalism. America minus God equals despair. Freedom absent morality brings tyranny.
Cheryl K. Chumley (Socialists Don't Sleep: Christians Must Rise or America Will Fall)
It is still God who is responsible for giving us our daily bread. Though He could give it to us directly, by a miraculous provision, as He once did for the children of Israel when He fed them daily with manna, God has chosen to work through human beings, who, in their different capacities and according to their different talents, serve each other. This is the doctrine of vocation. p.14
Gene Edward Veith Jr. (God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life (Focal Point Series))
Know Thyself, a wise old Greek once said. Know Thyself. Now what does this mean, boys and girls? It means, be what you are. Don't try to be Sally or Johnny or Fred next door; be yourself. God doesn't want a tree to be a waterfall, or a flower to be a stone. God gives to each one of us a special talent." Janice and Rabbit become unnaturally still; both are Christians. God's name makes them feel guilty. "God wants some of us to become scientists, some of us to become artists, some of us to become firemen and doctors and trapeze artists. And He gives to each of us the special talents to become these things, provided we work to develop them. We must work, boys and girls. So: Know Thyself. Learn to understand your talents, and then work to develop them. That's the way to be happy.
John Updike
But here we may well ask what we are living for - if we are living to give up to the influence of environment, visible or invisible, or if we are living to attain such full control over the powers and talents that are within us, that we can not only control, modify and perfect environment, but also so perfectly control ourselves that we can become all that nature intends that we should become.
Christian D. Larson (Your Forces and How to Use Them)
For many, the call to be a Christian can seem demanding, even overwhelming. But we need not be afraid or feel inadequate. The Savior has promised that He will make us equal to His work. 'Follow me,' He said, 'and I will make you fishers of men.' As we follow Him, He blesses us with gifts, talents, and the strength to do His will, allowing us to go beyond our comfort zones and do things we've never before thought possible.
Robert D. Hales
You may be very deficient in talent yourself, and yet you may be the means of drawing to Christ one who shall become eminent in grace and service. Ah! dear friend, you little know the possibilities which are in you. You may but speak a word to a child, and in that child there may be slumbering a noble heart which shall stir the Christian church in years to come. Andrew has only two talents, but he finds Peter. Go thou and do likewise.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (Morning and Evening Daily Devotions with Charles Spurgeon Book (Annotated))
When God gives you understanding, life hands you mysteries. When He gives you insight, life hands you enigmas. When He gives you wisdom, life hands you problems. When He gives you strength, life hands you tasks. When He gives you courage, life hands you tests. When He gives you faith, life hands you trials. When He gives you passion, life hands you chores. When He gives you talent, life hands you assignments. When He gives you genius, life hands you obligations. When He gives you joy, life hands you burdens. When He gives you patience, life hands you troubles. When He gives you love, life hands you heartaches. When He gives you wealth, life hands you stress. When He gives you possessions, life hands you duties. When He gives you power, life hands you responsibilities. When He gives you friends, life hands you demands. When He gives you children, life hands you commitments. When He gives you relationships, life hands you inconveniences.
Matshona Dhliwayo
Nowadays, to be sure, we are more “comprehensive.” In particular, we pay more attention to the body. It may even be that we go too far. On the other hand, are there not too many intellectuals about who, without knowing it, have put a muzzle on their hearts, and whose “spiritual life” misses those deep intuitions that are of the world of the spirit? All these people–the “brains,” the spiritualists, as well as those who are embarrassed or engrossed by the body–may be taught Yoga (I saw “may,” because they have to give themselves to it) that they cannot become truly themselves unless they accept their nature as men and aim at establishing balance between the parts of man in is; this nature of ours which is at one and the same time an animal body (corpus-anima), thinking soul (animus-mens) and spirit (spiritus-cor). It is a harmony among these “three” that is sought in each of us by the grace of redemption. Christ came in the first place so that this “creature of God” within us, concealed under a human complex, bruised and torn by original sin, should flower and open out in its full beauty and wealth of talent. Any ascetic discipline that works towards this works, in fact, hand in hand with grace, and that is why I have roundly stated that a Yoga that calms the senses, pacifies the soul, and frees certain intuitive or affective powers in us can be of inestimable service to the West. It can make people into true Christians, dynamic and open, by helping them to be men.
Jean Déchanet (Christian Yoga)
Real humility has nothing to do with creating in myself a low self-image or making myself feel guilty. It means recognizing that all my talents and virtues are gifts from God, gifts for which I am profoundly thankful. These gifts are entrusted to me so I can share them with people around me. I also share in their gifts, for which I am thankful to those people and to God. Real humility is also a recognition in practice that God loves each of my neighbors just as he loves me, so each one is invaluable.
Nonna Verna Harrison (God's Many-Splendored Image: Theological Anthropology for Christian Formation)
My mission is to live with integrity and to make a difference in the lives of others. To fulfill this mission: I have charity: I seek out and love the one—each one—regardless of his situation. I sacrifice: I devote my time, talents, and resources to my mission. I inspire: I teach by example that we are all children of a loving Heavenly Father and that every Goliath can be overcome. I am impactful: What I do makes a difference in the lives of others. These roles take priority in achieving my mission: Husband—my partner is the most important person in my life. Together we contribute the fruits of harmony, industry, charity, and thrift. Father—I help my children experience progressively greater joy in their lives. Son/Brother—I am frequently “there” for support and love. Christian—God can count on me to keep my covenants and to serve his other children. Neighbor—The love of Christ is visible through my actions toward others. Change Agent—I am a catalyst for developing high performance in large organizations. Scholar—I learn important new things every day.
Stephen R. Covey (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change)
My calling as a mother is the same as any other Christian’s: to fulfill God’s will for our lives and to glorify him. This means I am to follow the Lord’s design for my marriage—cleaving to my husband, supporting him, honoring him, loving him as my own flesh. I am to be a careful steward of the world in which I live. I am to seek opportunities to bring God’s message of redemption to others, to make full use of the gifts and talents he has placed in my life to bring him glory and further his kingdom. And I am to delight in him and worship him and praise him in whatever circumstance I find myself.
Sally Clarkson (The Mission Of Motherhood: Touching Your Child's Heart For Eternity)
In the parable of the talents, the three servants are called to render an account of how they have used the gifts entrusted to them. The first two used their talents boldly and resourcefully. The third, who prudently wraps his money and buries it, typifies the Christian who deposits his faith in an hermetic container and seals the lid shut. He or she limps through life on childhood memories of Sunday school and resolutely refuses the challenge of growth and spiritual maturity. Unwilling to take risks, this person loses the talent entrusted to him or her. “The master wanted his servants to take risks. He wanted them to gamble with his money.”5
Brennan Manning (The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out)
Coupled with our desire for the ideal, therefore, we must have an equally strong desire for the remaking of ourselves so that we may become equal to that ideal in every respect. If we want an ideal companion, we must not only wish for such a companion, but we must also desire the development of those qualities in ourselves that we know would make us agreeable to that companion. If we want a different environment we should wish for such an environment with all the life and soul we possess, and should at the same time wish for the increase of those powers in our own talents that can earn such an environment. If we want a better position we should desire such a position every minute and also desire that we maybe become more competent to fill it when it comes.
Christian D. Larson (Your Forces and How to Use Them)
Christianity opens up vital space in our imaginations by making a distinction between two kinds of poverty: what it terms voluntary poverty on the one hand and involuntary poverty on the other. We are at this point in history so deeply fixated on the idea that poverty must always be involuntary and therefore the result of a lack of talent and indigence, we can’t even imagine that it might be the result of an intelligent and skilled person’s free choice based on a rational evaluation of costs and benefits. It might sincerely be possible for someone to decide not to take the better-paid job, not to publish another book, not to seek high office – and to do so not because they had no chance, but because – having surveyed the externalities involved – they chose not to fight for them.
The School of Life (Calm: Educate Yourself in the Art of Remaining Calm, and Learn how to Defend Yourself from Panic and Fury)
Here there was a cheerful boy At least he created tales and lived in joy. Nursery rhymes his grandmother told, Songs and tales emerged gladly in gold. Caring heart, affection spoke loud as brighter, He made the decision: he would be a writer! Rising laughters, crying tears, many feelings, Inserted everything and nothing was in vain. So he transformed the ugly into beautiful, Tales to amuse and make everyone sane, In there he went, without daydreams or zeal. As such it was born the icon of literature still. No one denied he was exceedingly bountiful. A ballerina loves the soldier in his world, Nothing gets involved in his fairy tales, Dancing from a poor weak boy to a king, Eccentric prince of charm in winged corners! Rare star of sweet tenderness, Sensible and masterful in tenderness, Emchanted kingdom of dreams and candor, Now a divine fire of a soul he shines. Havia um menino alegre porem so Ao menos criava contos e deles vivia Nas historias que contava sua avo, Seus contos surgiam pois ele os via. Carinho nao faltava em seu coracao ator, Havia tomado a decisao: seria escritor! Risos, lagrimas, sentimentos saos, Inseria tudo e nada era em vao. Transformava ate o feio em belo, Inadvertia e divertia com seu elo, Adiante ia, sem devaneios e zelo. Nascia assim o icone da literatura. A bailarina ama o soldado em seu mundo, Nada se interpunha em seus contos de fadas, De pobre menino fraco e cogitabundo, Era principe de encantos em cantos alados! Rara estrela de doce brandura, Sensata e magistral em ternura, Em seu reino de sonhos e candura, No fogo divino de sua alma fulgura.
Ana Claudia Antunes (ACross Tic)
Richard Lovelace makes a compelling case that the best defense is a good offense. “The ultimate solution to cultural decay is not so much the repression of bad culture as the production of sound and healthy culture,” he writes. “We should direct most of our energy not to the censorship of decadent culture, but to the production and support of healthy expressions of Christian and non-Christian art.”10 Public protests and boycotts have their place. But even negative critiques are effective only when motivated by a genuine love for the arts. The long-term solution is to support Christian artists, musicians, authors, and screenwriters who can create humane and healthy alternatives that speak deeply to the human condition. Exploiting “Talent” The church must also stand against forces that suppress genuine creativity, both inside and outside its walls. In today’s consumer culture, one of the greatest dangers facing the arts is commodification. Art is treated as merchandise to market for the sake of making money. Paintings are bought not to exhibit, nor to grace someone’s home, but merely to resell. They are financial investments. As Seerveld points out, “Elite art of the New York school or by approved gurus such as Andy Warhol are as much a Big Business today as the music business or the sports industry.”11 Artists and writers have been reduced to “talent” to be plugged into the manufacturing process. That approach may increase sales, but it will suppress the best and highest forms of art. In the eighteenth century, the world nearly lost the best of Mozart’s music because the adults in the young man’s life treated him primarily as “talent” to exploit.
Nancy R. Pearcey (Saving Leonardo: A Call to Resist the Secular Assault on Mind, Morals, and Meaning)
In terms of the Trinity, I believe in the Father and the Holy Ghost but not really Jesus that much. Yes, Jesus was pretty badass because he stood up for what he believed in and was definitely an alpha and a man of his convictions, and all that respectable shit, and he took a hell of a beating in the end, but his message was wrong. All that turn the other cheek and love thy neighbor nonsense; be a lamb and so on. It’s silly and doesn’t work. The God of the Old Testament, the Father, that guy makes a lot more sense to me. He had it in him to be mean and spiteful. I get that I was made in the image of a guy who’d fuck over a nobody like Job basically for fun and to prove a point to a rival. I get that I was made in the image of a guy who’d kick two shitheads out of the Garden of Eden for disobeying Him. I get the idea of Him laying waste to entire cities with fireballs or whatever because He didn’t very much like the type of people that lived there (though Sodom and Gomorrah seem like just the sort of places I’d like to hang out). If God is love, it ain’t Jesus’. The Father’s love, tough love, is what works. Sometimes there’s difficulty distinguishing it from hate, and that’s why it applies to the way I live my life. Jesus’ message just makes people nice, makes them pussies, and while I’m thankful for it because it’s given me the upper hand throughout my life in very Christian America, believing in it, really, would be idiotic for anyone like me, a winner. And I believe in the Holy Ghost too mostly because I’ve felt Him working through me while doing really cool shit, like playing football and writing good songs or whatever. He’s what people mean when they say God-given talent, which I have a lot of.
A.D. Aliwat (Alpha)
You, sir, have a lovely and talented son. You should be proud of him. You should be encouraging him. He clearly loves to skate, and he’s bloody marvelous at it, particularly given his age. But beside the fact that you may be too ignorant and bloody-minded to see that, you’re also a monster if this is the kind of thing you say to that child at home. There is nothing inherently queer about figure skating, but even if there were, it’s what Christian wants to do. And if he does happen to be gay, that’s not a choice. It’s not a decision you can influence. It either is or it isn’t, and to try to turn that into something ugly, into something that might make that kind, clever young man turn to self-loathing, puts you among the most despicable creatures I’ve ever had the misfortune to meet. You don’t deserve that boy. And he certainly deserves better than you.
Samantha Wayland (Home & Away)
Many, many people hereabouts are not becoming Christians for one reason only: there is nobody to make them Christians. Again and again I have thought of going round the universities of Europe, especially Paris, and everywhere crying out like a madman, riveting the attention of those with more learning than charity. What a tragedy: how many souls are being shut out of heaven and falling into hell, thanks to you! I wish they would work as hard at this as they do at their books, and so settle their account with God for their learning and the talents entrusted to them. This thought would certainly stir most of them to meditate on spiritual realities, to listen actively to what God is saying to them. They would forget their own desires, their human affairs, and give themselves over entirely to God’s will and his choice. They would cry out with all their heart: Lord, I am here! What do you want me to do?
Francis Xavier
I find it understandable that people who have been destroying themselves in a drastic way might turn to a drastic cure, and adopt a harsh version of Christianity, every bit as rigid as the physical addiction that formerly held them in thrall. But they also reveal a basic and valuable truth about conversion - that we do not suddenly change in essence, magically become new people, with all our old faults left behind. What happens is more subtle, and to my mind, more revealing of God's great mercy. In the process of conversion, the detestable parts of our selves do not vanish so much as become transformed. We can't run from who we are, with our short tempers, our vanity, our sharp tongues, our talents for self-aggrandizement, self-delusion, or despair. But we can convert, in its root meaning of turn around, so that we are forced to face ourselves as we really are. We can pray that God will take our faults and use them for the good.
Kathleen Norris (Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith)
The key point here is Macaulay’s belief that “knowledge and reflection” on the part of the Hindus, especially the Brahmanas, would cause them to give up their age-old belief in anything Vedic in favor of Christianity. The purpose was to turn the strength of Hindu intellectuals against their own kind by utilizing their commitment to scholarship in uprooting their own tradition, which Macaulay viewed as nothing more than superstitions. His plan was to educate the Hindus to become Christians and turn them into collaborators. He persisted with this idea for fifteen years until he found the money and the right man for turning his utopian idea into reality. He needed someone who would translate and interpret the Vedic texts in such a way that the newly educated Indian elite would see the superiority of the Bible and choose that over everything else. Upon his return to England, after a good deal of effort he found a talented but impoverished young German Vedic scholar by name Friedrich Max Muller who was willing to take on the arduous job. Macaulay used his influence with the East India Company to find funds for Max Muller’s translation of the Rig Veda. Though an ardent German nationalist, Max Muller agreed for the sake of Christianity to work for the East India Company, which in reality meant the British Government of India. He also badly needed a major sponsor for his ambitious plans, which he felt he had at last found. The fact is that Max Muller was paid by the East India Company to further its colonial aims, and worked in cooperation with others who were motivated by the superiority of the German race through the white Aryan race theory. This was the genesis of his great enterprise, translating the Rig Veda with Sayana's commentary and the editing of the fifty-volume Sacred Books of the East. In this way, there can be no doubt regarding Max Muller’s initial aim and commitment to converting Indians to Christianity. Writing to his wife in 1866 he observed: “It [the Rig Veda] is the root of their religion and to show them what the root is, I feel sure, is the only way of uprooting all that has sprung from it during the last three thousand years.” Two years later he also wrote the Duke of Argyle, then acting Secretary of State for India: “The ancient religion of India is doomed. And if Christianity does not take its place, whose fault will it be?” This makes it very clear that Max Muller was an agent of the British government paid to advance its colonial interests. Nonetheless, he still remained an ardent German nationalist even while working in England. This helps explain why he used his position as a recognized Vedic and Sanskrit scholar to promote the idea of the “Aryan race” and the “Aryan nation,” a theory amongst a certain class of so-called scholars, which has maintained its influence even until today.
Stephen Knapp (The Aryan Invasion Theory: The Final Nail in its Coffin)
Religious people, the “people of God,” the people of the impossible, impassioned by a love that leaves them restless and unhinged, panting like the deer for running streams, as the psalmist says (Ps. 42:1), are impossible people. In every sense of the word. If, on any given day, you go into the worst neighborhoods of the inner cities of most large urban centers, the people you will find there serving the poor and needy, expending their lives and considerable talents attending to the least among us, will almost certainly be religious people — evangelicals and Pentecostalists, social workers with deeply held religious convictions, Christian, Jewish, and Islamic, men and women, priests and nuns, black and white. They are the better angels of our nature. They are down in the trenches, out on the streets, serving the widow, the orphan, and the stranger, while the critics of religion are sleeping in on Sunday mornings. That is because religious people are lovers; they love God, with whom all things are possible. They are hyper-realists, in love with the impossible, and they will not rest until the impossible happens, which is impossible, so they get very little rest. The philosophers, on the other hand, happen to be away that weekend, staying in a nice hotel, reading unreadable papers on “the other” at each other, which they pass off as their way of serving the wretched of the earth. Then, after proclaiming the death of God, they jet back to their tenured jobs, unless they happen to be on sabbatical leave and are spending the year in Paris.
John D. Caputo (On Religion (Thinking in Action))
When most people use the word ‘freedom’ nowadays, they use it in the sense of the French Revolutionaries: freedom from tradition, from established social institutions, from religious doctrines, from prescriptive duties. I think that this employment of the word does much mischief. For we do not live in an age—and there are such ages—which is oppressed by the dead weight of archaic establishments and obsolete custom. The danger in our era, rather, is that the fountains of the great deep will be broken up and that the pace of alteration will be so rapid that generation cannot link with generation. Our era, necessarily, is what Matthew Arnold called an epoch of concentration. Or, at least, the thinking American needs to turn his talents to concentration, the buttressing and reconstruction of our moral and social heritage. This is a time not for anarchic freedom, but for ordered freedom. There are much older and stronger concepts of freedom than that espoused by the French Revolutionaries. In the Christian tradition, freedom is submission to the will of God. This is no paradox. As he that would save his life must lose it, so the man who desires true freedom must recognize a providential order which gives all freedoms their sanction. The theory of ‘natural rights’ depends upon the premise of an on alterable human nature bestowed upon man by God. Only acceptance of the divine order can give enduring freedom to a society; for this lacking, there is no reason why the strong and the clever, the dominant majority or the successful oligarch, should respect the liberties of anyone else. Freedom without the theory of natural rights becomes simply the freedom of those who hold power to do as they like with the lives of those whose interests conflict with theirs.
Russell Kirk
Aristotle very famously said in his Politics I.V.8 that some people are born to be slaves. He meant that some people are not as capable of higher rational thought and therefore should do the work that frees the more talented and brilliant to pursue a life of honor and culture. Modern people bristle with outrage at such a statement, but while we do not today hold with the idea of literal slavery, the attitudes behind Aristotle’s statement are alive and well. Christian philosopher Lee Hardy and many others have argued that this “Greek attitude toward work and its place in human life was largely preserved in both the thought and practice of the Christian church” through the centuries, and still holds a great deal of influence today in our culture.43 What has come down to us is a set of pervasive ideas. One is that work is a necessary evil. The only good work, in this view, is work that helps make us money so that we can support our families and pay others to do menial work. Second, we believe that lower-status or lower-paying work is an assault on our dignity. One result of this belief is that many people take jobs that they are not suited for at all, choosing to aim for careers that do not fit their gifts but promise higher wages and prestige. Western societies are increasingly divided between the highly remunerated “knowledge classes” and the more poorly remunerated “service sector,” and most of us accept and perpetuate the value judgments that attach to these categories. Another result is that many people will choose to be unemployed rather than do work that they feel is beneath them, and most service and manual labor falls into this category. Often people who have made it into the knowledge classes show great disdain for the concierges, handymen, dry cleaners, cooks, gardeners, and others who hold service jobs.
Timothy J. Keller (Every Good Endeavour: Connecting Your Work to God's Plan for the World)
Such gratuity necessarily revolutionizes the ordinary human way of looking at talent, effort, and achievement. Henceforth I do strain, I do intend, and I do utilize my potential, but solely by virtue of Another. What can my effort to cultivate the land avail me if I have neither seed nor soil? The ground, the possibility, the impulse, the sense—all of these are given to me absolutely free and undeserved. Jesus does not specify what the “free gift” precisely is which the apostles have received, and the word δωϱεὰν may also be read adverbially to mean “gratis”, “free of charge”, so that the alternate translation would be: “You received without cost; give without charge.” The very indetermination of the object, however, here makes the formulation even more absolute. Although in context the specific “gift” meant is probably the divine authority to heal and generally to act in Jesus’ stead, surely it also refers to the first call to discipleship by Jesus, to the invitation to and privilege of following him and sharing his life, and to this present call to special apostleship as well. In other words, the “gift” given by God free of charge is the Christian’s whole life; Christ Jesus himself. The gratuitousness with which God gives his Son to mankind, furthermore, imposes an inviolable pattern of transitiveness. The one who receives must give the gift further as freely as he has received it. As a result of receiving from God, one must give like God. God, then, imparts not only the gift itself but the very manner of the giving. This gift communicates its qualities to its recipient: having such a gift, I myself must become gift. The gift of God’s life—Jesus—does not pass through me like water through a pipe, leaving me unaffected. It descends upon me like fire on a sacrifice, roasting the meat and making it edible for God’s hungry.
Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis (Fire of Mercy, Heart of the Word: Meditations on the Gospel According to Saint Matthew, Vol. 1)
The old theological problem of "Faith" and "Knowledge," or more plainly, of instinct and reason―the question whether, in respect to the valuation of things, instinct deserves more authority than rationality, which wants to appreciate and act according to motives, according to a "Why," that is to say, in conformity to purpose and utility―it is always the old moral problem that first appeared in the person of Socrates, and had divided men's minds long before Christianity. Socrates himself, following, of course, the taste of his talent―that of a surpassing dialectician―took first the side of reason; and, in fact, what did he do all his life but laugh at the awkward incapacity of the noble Athenians, who were men of instinct, like all noble men, and could never give satisfactory answers concerning the motives of their actions? In the end, however, though silently and secretly, he laughed also at himself: with his finer conscience and introspection, he found in himself the same difficulty and incapacity. "But why"―he said to himself― "should one on that account separate oneself from the instincts! One must set them right, and the reason ALSO―one must follow the instincts, but at the same time persuade the reason to support them with good arguments." This was the real FALSENESS of that great and mysterious ironist; he brought his conscience up to the point that he was satisfied with a kind of self-outwitting: in fact, he perceived the irrationality in the moral judgment.―Plato, more innocent in such matters, and without the craftiness of the plebeian, wished to prove to himself, at the expenditure of all his strength―the greatest strength a philosopher had ever expended―that reason and instinct lead spontaneously to one goal, to the good, to "God"; and since Plato, all theologians and philosophers have followed the same path―which means that in matters of morality, instinct (or as Christians call it, "Faith," or as I call it, "the herd") has hitherto triumphed. Unless one should make an exception in the case of Descartes, the father of rationalism (and consequently the grandfather of the Revolution), who recognized only the authority of reason: but reason is only a tool, and Descartes was superficial.
Friedrich Nietzsche (Beyond Good and Evil)
See? I long to be your spiritual guide. I really do, and I will. Love is my motive, rather than any elevated belief in my own knowledge, contemplative work, experience, or maturity. And may God correct what I get wrong. For he knows everything, and I only know in part.1 Now to satisfy your proud intellect, I will praise the work of contemplation. You should know that if those engaged in this work had the linguistic talent to express exactly what they’re experiencing, then every scholar of Christianity would be amazed by their wisdom. It’s true! In comparison, all theological erudition would look like total nonsense. No wonder, then, that my clumsy human speech can’t describe the immense value of this work to you, and God forbid that the limitations of our finite language should desecrate and distort it. No, this must not and will not happen. God forbid that I would ever want that! For our analysis of contemplation and the exercise itself are two entirely different things. What we say of it is not it, but merely a description. So, since we can’t define it, let’s describe it. This will baffle all intellectual conceit, especially yours, which is the sole reason I’m writing this letter. I want to start off by asking you a question. What is the essence of human spiritual perfection, and what are its qualities? I’ll answer this for you. On earth, spiritual perfection is only possible through the union between God and the human soul in consummate love. This perfection is pure and so sublime that it surpasses our human understanding, and that’s why it can’t be directly grasped or observed. But wherever we see its consequences, we know that the essence of contemplation abounds there. So, if I tell you that this spiritual discipline is better than all others, then I must first prove it by describing what mature love looks like. This spiritual exercise grows virtues. Look within yourself as you contemplate and also examine the nature of every virtue. You’ll find that all virtues are found in and nurtured by contemplation with no distortion or degeneration of their purposes. I’m not going to single out any particular virtue here for discussion. I don’t need to because you can find them described in other things I’ve written.2 I’ll only comment here that contemplative prayer, when done right, is the respectful love and ripe fruit that I discuss in your little Letter on Prayer. It’s the cloud of unknowing, the hidden love-longing offered by a pure spirit. It’s the Ark of the Covenant.3 It’s the mystical theology of Dionysius, the wisdom and treasure of his “bright darkness” and “unknown knowing.” It takes you into silence, far from thoughts and words. It makes your prayer very short. In it, you learn how to reject and forget the world.
Anonymous (The Cloud of Unknowing: With the Book of Privy Counsel)
To every one Jesus has left a work to do, there is no one who can plead that he is excused. Every Christian is to be a worker with Christ; but those to whom he has intrusted large means and abilities have the greater responsibilities. … The Master has given directions, “Occupy till I come.” He is the great proprietor, and has a right to investigate every transaction, and approve or condemn; he has a right to rebuke, to encourage, to counsel, or to expel. The Lord’s work requires careful thought and the highest intellect. He will not inquire how successful you have been in gathering means to hoard, or that you may excel your neighbors in property, and gather attention to yourself while excluding God from your hearts and homes. He will inquire, What have you done to advance my cause with the talents I lent you? What have you done for me in the person of the poor, the afflicted, the orphan, and the fatherless? I was sick, poor, hungry, and destitute of clothing; what did you do for me with my intrusted means? How was the time I lent you employed? How did you use your pen, your voice, your money, your influence? I made you the depositary of a precious trust by opening before you the thrilling truths heralding my second coming. What have you done with the light and knowledge I gave you to make men wise unto salvation? Our Lord has gone away to receive his kingdom; but he will prepare mansions for us, and then will come to take us to himself. In his absence he has given us the privilege of being co-laborers with him in the work of preparing souls to enter those mansions of light and glory. It was not that we might lead a life of worldly pleasure and extravagance that he left the royal courts of Heaven, clothing his divinity with humanity, and becoming poor that we through his poverty might be made rich. He did this that we might follow his example of self-denial for others. Each one of us is building upon the true foundation, wood, hay, and stubble, to be consumed in the last great conflagration, and our life-work be lost, or we are building upon that foundation, gold, silver, and precious stones, which will never perish, but shine the brighter amid the devouring elements that will try every man’s work. Any unfaithfulness in spiritual and eternal things here will result in loss throughout endless ages. Those who lead a Christless life, who exclude Jesus from heart, home, and business, who leave him out of their counsels, and trust to their own heart, and rely on their own judgment, are unfaithful servants, and will receive the reward which their works have merited. At his coming the Master will call his servants, and reckon with them. The parable certainly teaches that good works will be rewarded according to the motive that prompted them; that skill and intellect used in the service of God will prove a success, and will be rewarded according to the fidelity of the worker. Those who have had an eye single to the glory of God will have the richest reward. -ST 11-20-84
Ellen Gould White (Sabbath School Lesson Comments By Ellen G. White - 2nd Quarter 2015 (April, May, June 2015 Book 32))
There would seem to be only one question for philosophy to resolve: what must I do? Despite being combined with an enormous amount of unnecessary confusion, answers to the question have at any rate been given within the philosophical tradition of the Christian nations. For example, in Kant's Critique of Practical Reason, or in Spinoza, Schopenhauer and especially Rousseau. But in more recent times, since Hegel's assertion that all that exists is reasonable, the question of what one must do has been pushed to the background and philosophy has directed its whole attention to the investigation of things as they are, and to fitting them into a prearranged theory. This was the first step backwards. The second step, degrading human thought yet further, was the acceptance of the struggle for existence as a basic law, simply because that struggle can be observed among animals and plants. According to this theory the destruction of the weakest is a law which should not be opposed. And finally, the third step was taken when the childish originality of Nietzche's half-crazed thought, presenting nothing complete or coherent, but only various drafts of immoral and completely unsubstantiated ideas, was accepted by the leading figures as the final word in philosophical science. In reply to the question: what must we do? the answer is now put straightforwardly as: live as you like, without paying attention to the lives of others. Turgenev made the witty remark that there are inverse platitudes, which are frequently employed by people lacking in talent who wish to attract attention to themselves. Everyone knows, for instance, that water is wet, and someone suddenly says, very seriously, that water is dry, not that ice is, but that water is dry, and the conviction with which this is stated attracts attention. Similarly, the whole world knows that virtue consists in the subjugation of one's passions, or in self-renunciation. It is not just the Christian world, against whom Nietzsche howls, that knows this, but it is an eternal supreme law towards which all humanity has developed, including Brahmanism, Buddhism, Confucianism and the ancient Persian religion. And suddenly a man appears who declares that he is convinced that self-renunciation, meekness, submissiveness and love are all vices that destroy humanity (he has in mind Christianity, ignoring all the other religions). One can understand why such a declaration baffled people at first. But after giving it a little thought and failing to find any proof of the strange propositions, any rational person ought to throw the books aside and wonder if there is any kind of rubbish that would not find a publisher today. But this has not happened with Nietzsche's books. The majority of pseudo-enlightened people seriously look into the theory of the superman, and acknowledge its author to be a great philosopher, a descendant of Descartes, Leibniz and Kant. And all this has come about because the majority of the pseudo-enlightened men of today object to any reminder of virtue, or to its chief premise: self-renunciation and love - virtues that restrain and condemn the animal side of their life. They gladly welcome a doctrine, however incoherently and disjointedly expressed, of egotism and cruelty, sanctioning the ideas of personal happiness and superiority over the lives of others, by which they live.
Leo Tolstoy
Skills do not qualify or disqualify any of us from our purpose.
Ricky Maye (Barefoot Christianity)
Susie paints for the glory of God. “It’s the only way I can do it,” she said. “It all comes from him.” She once read that a Christian can be an artist but never a great artist. “I agree with that. We can’t let a talent God gave us take the place God should have in our life. We can’t let it be an obsession. It always has to be God, first.
Suzanne Woods Fisher (Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World)
Every cult of personality that emphasizes the distinguished qualities, virtues, and talents of another person, even though these be of an altogether spiritual nature, is worldly and has no place in the Christian community; indeed, it poisons the Christian community. Dietrich Bonhoeffer1
Anonymous (Embracing Obscurity: Becoming Nothing in Light of God's Everything)
For our Christian groups and their leaders, it means that there is a simple, straightforward way in which congregations of Jesus’ people can, without exception, fulfill his call to be an ecclesia, his “called out” ones: a touch point between heaven and earth, where the healing of the Cross and the Resurrection can save the lost and grow the saved into the fullness of human beings in Christ. No special facilities, programs, talents, or techniques are required. It doesn’t even require a budget. Just faithfulness to the process of spiritual formation in Christlikeness exposed in the Scriptures and in the lives of his “peculiar people” through the ages (Titus 2:14, KJV).
Dallas Willard (Renovation of the Heart: Putting On the Character of Christ)
BUILDING FELLOWSHIP It is good and pleasant when God’s people live together in peace! Psalm 133:1 NCV Fellowship with other believers should be an integral part of your everyday life. Your association with fellow Christians should be uplifting, enlightening, encouraging, and consistent. Are you an active member of your own fellowship? Are you a builder of bridges inside the four walls of your church and outside it? Do you contribute to God’s glory by contributing your time and your talents to a close-knit band of believers? Hopefully so. The fellowship of believers is intended to be a powerful tool for spreading God’s Good News and uplifting His children. And God intends for you to be a fully contributing member of that fellowship. Your intentions should be the same. Be united with other Christians. A wall with loose bricks is not good. The bricks must be cemented together. Corrie ten Boom In God’s economy you will be hard-pressed to find many examples of successful “Lone Rangers.” Luci Swindoll A TIMELY TIP God intends for you to be an active member of your fellowship. Your intentions should be the same.
Freeman (Once A Day Everyday … For A Woman of Grace)
How many of us know that, because Christ is risen, we are therefore alive “unto God” and not unto ourselves? How many of us dare not use our time, or money, or talents as we would, because we realize they are the Lord’s, not ours? How many of us have such a strong sense that we belong to Another that we dare not squander a shilling of our money, or an hour of our time, or any of our mental or physical powers?
Watchman Nee (The Normal Christian Life)