Use What You Have!
Charles Naylor, 1920
Few people really are and do their best.
Nature has blessed a few with great talents and abilities. These people often become proud, self-centered, and feel themselves to be superior — and for that reason many times they fail to make the proper use of their abilities. How often are their talents used in a bad or foolish way — so that what might be a blessing to the world, fails to be such!
There are many others who realize that they do not possess these natural gifts. They look upon those who have them, and envy them. They bemoan their own lack, and say, "If I only had the talents that person has," and meanwhile they sit in idleness, making no use of what they have.
"If I could preach like So-and-so — then what I would accomplish for the Lord!" another says; or, "If I had the money So-and-so has, what I could accomplish for the kingdom!"
"If my circumstances were different — then I might hope to do something," comes from another.
But all these are like the dreamer who says, "Tomorrow I will do great things" — and yet today he does nothing.
Use what you have. You will always be yourself. You can never be anyone else. If you ever accomplish anything — it will be through those abilities which you now possess. It is of no use to lament that you are not as somebody else is. It is of no use to envy another's talents.
You will always be yourself. You might as well face that fact, and endeavor to make the best possible use of the abilities which you have. They may look very small compared with those of some others — but they are all you have. Time spent in troubling yourself because you have not greater talents, is worse than wasted. The question is: Shall I improve and make use of what I have?
Man is capable of great development. Eye, hand, strength, mind, will — in fact, the whole man may, by proper efforts, be taught and developed, and expanded until he becomes something very different from what he was at first. The blessing of God will help us much — but that will not take the place of our own determined and persevering efforts.
Have you ever attempted to develop yourself? Do not think that because your abilities now seem small — that they never can be greater. You were only a child once. You did not think that you never would be larger. You looked eagerly forward to the time when you would be as large as grown-up people. Each day you ate and drank and breathed and exercised — the very things that would produce the growth that you desired. You used what you had of energy and strength — and thus increased them. We ought to be as wise in spiritual things, as in natural things. Paul said to Timothy, "Do not neglect the gift that is in you."
You must make use of what you have — then God will bestow more. But he will not bestow more — until you use with your might what you already have. You are, so to speak, the raw material of what you may be. What you will be — depends on the use you make of this material. The responsibility for the final product lies, for the most part, with you. Develop your mind, develop your soul, develop patience, courage, faith, loyalty, justice, benevolence, endurance, cheerfulness, determination, diligence, industry, and all those other qualities that make up real Christian manhood and which are the foundation of success in the Christian life. If you lack the will to try and keep trying — then you will always be a failure. Decide to be your best and do your best. If you will do this by God's help — you will not fail.
Use what you have WISELY.
Israel was oppressed. The Philistines had taken the Israelites' swords and spears, and swept the country bare of armor.
Shamgar had not much to fight with. He had no sword nor spear, no shield, no helmet. The Philistines were coming — and something must be done. There was the ox-goad — but what would that amount to against swords and spears? It was all the weapon he had. But he had something else — he had courage, determination, and faith in God. So he started straight for the host of enemies, and we are told that he slew "six hundred men with an ox-goad — and he also delivered Israel!" (Judges 3:31). He had only an ox-goad — but he used it manfully. Had he not done so, Israel would not have been delivered.
David, when he went against Goliath, had only his home-made sling and a few stones from the brook. But he went up to battle with unshaken faith in God. He had not much to start with in the way of weapons — but he had the courage to use what he did have. And he is famous to this day as Israel's deliverer.
Samson had only a jaw-bone — but he did not stop a moment to lament that fact. He did have the three things necessary in himself — courage, determination, and faith in God. And we are told that the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him. The result was he slew a thousand of his enemies, and put the rest to flight!
Have you not as much equipment as any of these men had? The results of their efforts were glorious. If you think you have but little to use for God — just add to it courage, determination, and faith in God — and go ahead. You will find that the Spirit of the Lord will make you mighty. Do not worry because you have so little to give — just be sure that you give what you can. Do not worry because you seem to have so little ability, or so little time, or so little opportunity — but do not fail to use what you have. Make the best of them!
Be content where the Lord has placed you. Make the best of your current circumstances.
It is of no use to say, "If my surroundings were different," or "If I were in some other place — then I could do better." Possibly you could — but that is not the question. Are you doing what you can in your present environment? If you can change your environment for the better — then do it. If you cannot — then decide to do your best where you are.
You may dream of ideal conditions — but you will not find them in this world. Whether you succeed or fail — depends less on your environment, than it does on yourself. If you will be true to the best that is in you — your environment will not have the bad influence that you imagine it will. Favorable circumstances never take the place of soul-qualities. Develop your soul-qualities — and you will be master of your environment. You need not let it master you. Be your best, and do your best — in your current place.
Make the best of your situation. That is the way for you to succeed, no matter what is against you. God will help you find that way, if you are determined to find it. Never permit yourself to spend time in lamentation over yourself or your circumstances. Keep the following thought and determination ever before you, "I will make the best of myself and my circumstances!" This is the true and only road to success in the Christian life.