Fix Weaknesses or Develop Strengths?

Do not neglect your gift, which was given you… –1 Timothy 4:14a

The following parable (author unknown) shares the story of a school for animals:

The school was to include classes in swimming, climbing, flying and running. All the animals were required to take all of the classes. The duck was good in swimming and he was pretty fair in flying, but he was just terrible in running. As a result, the duck was forced to drop his swimming class and stay after school so he could practice his running. He kept this up until he was only average in swimming but average was okay and that was acceptable and the others were no longer threatened by his swimming abilities. Everyone felt more comfortable, except the duck.

The eagle was somewhat of a problem student from the very beginning. In climbing, the eagle beat everyone to the top of the tree but did it in her own way. She flatly refused to climb the tree and had to be severely disciplined. She was so uncooperative in swimming classes that she finally had to be kicked out of the class.

The rabbit started at the top of the class in running, but was obviously not up to speed in other areas. In fact, the rabbit almost broke its leg trying to fly by using its ears as wings. The rabbit had so much make-up work to do in swimming that it had a nervous breakdown and had to drop out.

Sadly, the turtle was a failure in almost everything. The turtle’s shell was considered to be the primary cause of this dismal performance, so it was removed. This helped the turtle’s running a bit, but unfortunately, it became the first casualty of the school when stepped on by the horse. By the end of the school year, there were no real successes. It seemed that all the animals were either average, sick, or dead.

God has given each one of us certain gifts and abilities, certain strengths and weaknesses. The question becomes which do we focus our efforts on, fixing our weaknesses or developing our strengths? Without doubt, there are some life skills that are important to become competent in — and if we find we are weak in those skills — we should make an effort to improve. Yet, as the parable teaches us — if we primarily focus on fixing our weaknesses — we may end up wasting the strengths God has given us to be used for His glory!

Today, I challenge you to spend some time working to develop your strengths! God has creatively designed you with those strengths. Thank God for them! Use them!

1. Take a few moments to consider the strengths God has given you.

2. What can you do today to work on developing those strengths?

Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12

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Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, editor, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord Culture Blog also appears on Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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