MagazineOn File

Using our gifts and talents

Usingourgifts_InsAs a Salvation Army officer, I had the privilege of being stationed in the great city of Newark, N.J., one of the more diverse areas the state has to offer. In particular, the Ironbound section is home to several cultures and languages. On some streets, people speak Polish. On others, it’s Italian. However, no matter where you go, you will hear Portuguese and Spanish.

As diverse as these spoken languages are, the gifts and talents of the people there are even more varied. You’ll soon find artists, athletes, scholars, musicians, dancers, and orators, to name a few. And that’s just within the Salvation Army’s Boys & Girls Club and corps population!

When I walked in the doors of “The Club” for the first time, I saw walls there that were covered with the achievements of the young people. Several pieces of art, trophies from sporting competitions, and awards from “National Youth of the Year” candidates captured my attention. I quickly discovered that this community is quite talented.

Lieutenant Houseton with Timothy Jefferson (left) and Edward Hardy (right) at Star Search 2015.

Lieutenant Houseton with Timothy Jefferson (left) and Edward Hardy (right) at Star Search 2015.

Our young people are gifted in distinctive ways and in various amounts. Nevertheless, they all use their talents to bring recognition to themselves, to their families, and to the place where they first cultivated and nurtured these gifts. They all have something to show for what they have received or been taught. What a great example!

I’m reminded of Matthew 25:14–30, the parable of the ten talents. The master went away for a long time. He left to each servant a different amount of talents (currency). To one servant, the master gave five talents; to another, he gave two; and to the last servant, he gave one. Upon the master’s return, he found that the servant he gave the five talents now had ten. The servant he gave two now had four. But the servant he gave one talent, still had the one.

Romans 12:6 (ESV) reminds us, “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them….” I hope to be as amazing as those young people in Newark, so when the Master (Jesus) returns, I will have something to show for the gifts and talents that He has given to me.

—Lieutenant Darell Houseton

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