Best of 2011 Series, Gifts/Talents

Best of 2011: #6 — The Pursuit of Excellence

We are featuring our top EmpowerMoments of 2011. They made us laugh and they made us cry. They comforted us during troubled times and made us uncomfortable in our mess. But most important, they EMPOWERED us to be greater women all around! We are better wives, mothers, daughters, friends, servants and employees. We have been EMPOWERED to love harder, forgive more and listen better. We thank God for EmpowerMoments! Enjoy the Best of Series!

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”  – Martin Luther King Jr.

Have you ever heard of Gary S. May, PhD? While I am sure you may not have heard of him, you probably have heard of people who are just like him…Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry…I bet those names sound a bit more familiar.  He isn’t a billionaire (hmmm I may need to check on that), but just like the “media celebrities” I named he is doing what he loves using his God given talents. He is no actor, athlete, politician, or reality TV star. He is an academician and I would argue that his impact on society has been far greater than many celebrities and politicians you can name.

A Little Background: Yesterday I had the opportunity to sit in on Dr. May’s public presentation. He is one of my mentors and amongst four candidates interviewing to be the next Dean of the College of Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology. If you are giving me the virtual “Kanye Shrug” let me tell you why that is a big deal. Georgia Tech’s College of Engineering ranks #4 in the nation and thus far, outside of the HBCU’s and with the hundreds of engineering schools in the country, I have found only one African American Engineering Dean at a predominantly white university. I could spend time here telling you about the importance of engineering blah, blah, blah, but that’s not as important as the two lessons I learned by watching Dr. May make it to this step in his career:

  1. The Pursuit of Excellence
  2. Exhausting the Talents God Gives You

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. (I Corinthians 10: 31 ISV) As I sat watching Dr. May’s presentation I was both empowered and convicted. Empowered because I felt a renewed sense of faith in my own abilities and convicted because I haven’t been the best steward of my talents. In the above Bible verse, God tells us to be excellent in all things that we do because we are doing it for His glory. How many of you are working at mediocre jobs, in mediocre positions, receiving mediocre pay, leading mediocre lives, raising mediocre children, have mediocre friends and dating mediocre people all because you do not recognize it or are afraid of or too lazy to pursue excellence in EVERY aspect of your life? Ladies, our Father demands excellence. Is He pleased with your pursuit of excellence? Would you feel comfortable speaking directly to Him and saying, “Lord ,this mediocrity I have in my life is for Your glory…this is the BEST I can do”?  He wants OUR BEST, wants us to HAVE THE BEST and wants us to BE THE BEST! Period.

“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.” – Maya Angelou

Dr. May also reminded me of what happens when you use all of the talents God gives you and invest your talents in doing what you love. I don’t know any person who hated their job and achieved greatness at the same time. In the parable of the talents in Matthew 25: 14-30,  we learn that God gives each one of us talents and certain abilities in which we are gifted. God rewards us for using our talents and when we don’t He takes our talents away and punishes us. Matthew 25: 29-30 tells us “For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (KJV) God has given me so many dreams, visions, opportunities and outlets to express my talents and while I can’t sing or dance I have sat on some of the things that I know I can do well. I haven’t fully invested in nurturing and expressing myself through those gifts. I don’t want God to take those talents away. What about you?

Dear Daddy,

Give me a spirit of determination to pursue excellence in ALL that I do whether it is my career, my family or my personal endeavors. While I understand I am not perfect, I must continuously strive to do what is pleasing and brings You glory in every area of my life. Help me to recognize all of the talents that You have given me and to use them according to Your purpose and not hide them. Lord, help me to use my gifts to serve You and others. God, give me guidance so that I will know how to use my talents in ways that are pleasing to You. Jesus, when I stand before Your throne, I want to be exhausted and used up knowing that I lived my life to the fullest using every single gift that You deposited in my spirit. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today, EMPOWER yourself by thinking about ways that you can become excellent in all that you do. Ask yourself what perfection looks like (as a wife, single woman, mother, Christian, employee, employer etc) and strive for it. EMPOWER yourself by recognizing that everything in life is a gift from God and must be used responsibly. Ask God to expose all of your talents to you, make a list of them and then write a short paragraph on how you plan to use your talents. Each day read it and begin execution.

P.S. If you want to find out more about Gary S. May, PhD click here

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Shake Us Again

Ms. Chancee` Lundy lives in Atlanta, Georgia and is an entrepreneur as she is the co-owner of Nspiregreen, LLC, an environmental consulting firm. She is also a dedicated daughter, sister, friend and community servant. She has used her gift of public speaking to lead workshops across the globe speaking to crowds as large as 10,000 people. Her guiding scriptures this week are Philippians 4:11-13 “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

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