When We Compare Our Gifts and Talents

Graduation is a time when we compare our gifts and talents.  Someone is named valedictorian.  Someone else is elected president of the student body.  A beautiful young lady is named Homecoming Queen. An outstanding football player is selected MVP or chosen for the All-State team. Students are selected for athletic and academic scholarships.
The honors are well deserved and represent years of hard work.  Yet, they are not the end of the story for these young people.
Everyone has gifts and talents.  Some of those don’t pop to the surface when we chose “the best of” in high school.
The scientist who cures cancer may not have been at the top of his class in high school. The future winner of the Masters golf tournament may have been cut from the football team. The future Grammy winner may not have even tried out for choir in high school.
High school is preparation for the race — not the race itself.  As a result, the skills learned in high school are usually more important than the honors and awards.
The student who develops a great work ethic and study habits is better prepared to be successful in life than the talented person who flew by the seat of his pants, did well on tests because of raw intelligence, but never really learned to study.
Work experience on the weekends, after school, and in the summer often prove more influential on a person’s future than what happens in the classroom.
Above all, the most important trait of any person is character, and character comes from having wisdom.  The Bible says above all seek wisdom.
“Get wisdom, get understanding… Forsake her not, and she will preserve thee; love her, and she will keep thee… Wisdom is the principal thing: Therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting, get understanding.” Proverbs 4:5-7

If we are “educated” but lack wisdom and character, then it is all for naught, isn’t it? But if you have talent, a strong work ethic, wisdom, and character, then you can do what you love, be your best at it, and find a way to make money doing it!
The world will be yours and everything that’s in it!

Editor Woody Jenkins was valedictorian of his class of 535 at Istrouma High School in 1965.

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