Meant to post this some time ago. It’s an article I wrote for a couple of the village newsletters for June.

With the lead-in to the Olympics well underway, we are becoming extra conscious of those who have been made fast… and those who are skilled at throwing or kicking, or with balance and agility beyond the reach of your more average human being.

However, in order to reach the dizzying heights of Olympic competition, each sports person must not only be talented but must also put in terrifying amounts of hard work and discipline in following their chosen role as an elite athlete. A gift of speed or hand-eye coordination is not on its own enough, it must be developed and applied. Each Olympic competitor has chosen to follow a particular calling and to develop their physical skills to the best of their ability.

But for some of us, the role we take up is given rather than chosen. In June, of course, we celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The Queen is perhaps an extreme example of those whose role is given to them, but who also apply hard work to develop the necessary skills to turn it into something like a calling. For some of us, the equivalent might be the role we have as a carer or an unsought task which we have taken on at work. The choice we make is not the role itself, rather it is how we step into it and what we make of it – how we use the skills and gifts we have or how we astutely draw on those of others

It was Eric Liddell, gold medal wining athlete turned missionary to China, depicted in the film Chariots of Fire, who said ‘God made me fast, and when I run I feel his pleasure.’ He captured something of how it feels to use our skills and apply hard work in fulfilling a role well – whether chosen or given.

So what are the things that are special about you? What are the gifts God has given you, and how are you choosing to use them?

PS If you want to think a bit more about gifts, roles and you, you could try The Path by Laurie Beth Taylor. It takes a particular approach but many have found it valuable.