I never expected Whitney Houston and famed music producer Quincy Jones to give me a eureka moment about using my gifts, but they did. After all, I’m the seventh grade talent show entrant to Whitney’s jaw-dropping Grammy win, a lemonade stand to Steve Jobs’ Apple.
Nonetheless, any measure of gifting is still a skill and talent wrapped in an innate ability, honed with training and practice. When we’re being honest and humble in assigning credit for it, we know we aren't the source. We didn’t pull our gifts out of a hat like a dove.
Whitney Houston’s gifting was spectacular. When she sang the national anthem at the Superbowl or “I Will Always Love You,” you saw a powerfully executing of what God gave her. Right after her death I watched Quincy Jones on The Today Show say she had “It.”
“When you have ‘It,’ he said, “it’s like God left his hand on your shoulder longer than everybody else.”
I doubt most of us feel like God left his hand on us longer than everybody else, but still, to whatever degree, we have some aspect of gifting. I don’t want to squander or use mine without purpose in some random whirly-squirrely way, or worse--not use them at all. Lots of days I do though.
So I wonder-- what am I supposed to do with my measure of God-given gifts? What’s my responsibility?
Getting some insight on this from Quincy Jones surprised me. He said:
“You have to be prepared spiritually.”
“There’s a serious balance between what the gift is that God gave you and in most cases they know that, and so the gift back to God is the training of that voice, and doing the homework and a lot of hard work to make sure that they really express themselves perfectly.”
“Seriously, if you don’t have it together spiritually,” he said, “success is very hard to work with. The bottom line is,” and this wowed me, “You have to have humility with the creativity and grace with the success.”
That’s our responsibility with our creative gifts.
- Be spiritually prepared.
- Train our gift.
- Do our homework.
- Work hard.
- Have humility with our creativity.
- Have grace with our success.
It’s how we give back, it’s a prayer. A response. And I’m moved to make it so.