Have you ever seen someone doing something that they were soooo good at—maybe an artist doing a painting, or a salesman doing a pitch, or and actor doing a scene, or a musician at play, or an evangelist doing an invitation—and marveled at how smooth they are at what they do?

I see someone exercising their gifts like that and I find myself saying things like “Wow, this guy is GOOD. What a natural talent!” But, if you ask any of those people about their smooooth delivery and successful presentation, you’ll quickly find out that what you’re seeing is more than just gifts and talents at work. These smooooooth operators have spent hours and hours honing and developing the gifts and talents that God gave them.

It’s true that, for example, great salespeople are born, not made. It’s also true that salespeople with the potential for greatness fail all the time because they refuse to take the time to hone their natural skills and abilities, and get the training necessary to allow them to really make the most of their selling gifts.

Ask a great musician how many hours he or she has spent locked inside a room practicing, or ask a great painter how many canvases have been burned along the way. Ask a great preacher how much time he’s spent preaching to the dog.

Ask a great photographer how many rolls of film have been wasted, and you’re likely to be surprised by the answer. If he/she is truly a great photographer, they’ll tell you that none of that film was wasted, no matter how bad it looked. It was all a part of growing and developing their talents.

The world we live in is loaded with mediocrity. Unfortunately, that pattern also carries over to our churches, primarily because we settle for being gifted but mediocre. It’s easy to settle for being average. Average seems like a comfortable place. It’s certainly not lonely, and it’s not demanding at all. It doesn’t take a lot of effort, and many of us can come to a complete stop for extended periods of time and still remain average, which would be fine—except for one small thing.

God calls us to excellence.

God calls us to use the gifts and talents that He’s given us.God calls us to be the best we can be. God calls us to stand out, far above a world where mediocrity is average and excellence is unusual. To answer his call, we’ve got to get off our “Blessed Assurance” and start developing the gifts and talents that He’s given us.

Are you going to settle for mediocrity, or will you be what God has called you to be?

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