Summary: John Maxwell is right - TALENT IS NEVER ENOUGH.
Genesis 25:27-34 - WHEN TALENT IS NEVER ENOUGH
Goanna's are common in Australia, especially up in the Northern regions. A GOANNA is a monitor lizard that can grow to a couple of metres in length, with sharp teeth and claws. And I am going to goanna, crocodile, kangaroo and red desert country, to Darwin, a city in the North of Australia, to see a friend I have known for around 20 years.
As inexperienced and totally unskilled as I was, Ian would take me on overnight camping trips with him, hunting feral goats or exploring mountain ranges, trekking through the bush, sweating in the heat and humidity until exhaustion. On one trip, having almost reached my limit, totally fatigued, out in the middle of the bush, we came to a Henry-Moore-like rockpool, a beautiful clearwater natural spring. We swam with the leaches, until the cool water rejuvenated aching muscles and we caught crayfish in the nearby stream.
Sleeping in the tent on that hot afternoon I woke up to see a large goanna beside me. Fortunately, it was as startled as I was. Later, a goat skin, which Ian had hung on the branch of a tree was taken by another huge goanna. Incredible!
If Ian had been around in the time of Genesis 25, he would be out hunting with ESAU. I read one commentary however that says that Esau was a self-centered, irresponsible man, caring far more for sports and recreation than for the responsibilities of the family business and livestock. I also read some commentaries that castigate Jacob, his twin brother, for being lazy because he stays at home, looking after the domestic livestock and cooking. I think this is both unfair and unfounded.
The Bible certainly doesn't say that Esau is irresponsible because he is a hunter or that Jacob is lazy because he stays at home. Neither of them is necessarily sinful simply because they use their skills in different arenas of life. SKILLS in themselves are spiritually neutral.
Nothing wrong with Esau being a skilled hunter. He provides extra food for the family but also has the ability to protect the family. That is his skill and his father approves. Hunter, Protector, Defender of territory, Warrior. Perhaps Esau was being trained to be a general of the small army that his father, Isaac, inherited from Abraham (Genesis 14:14).
Years later, another hunter became an expert with a sling, killing predators that came after his sheep and a Philistine predator called Goliath who came after Israel. King David would say God "trains my hands for battle; He strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow." (2 Samuel 22:35 NLT).
Nothing wrong with having a GIFT OR TALENT, but what gives it SUBSTANCE is when I allow it to come under God's authority? When David tackles Goliath with his ability with a sling he rightly recognises that "The battle is the Lord's" (1 Sam 17:47). This doesn't seem true of Esau. He seems to DESPISE God's purposes for his life as a firstborn son, and is all too willing to sell his birthright for immediate gratification (Genesis 25:27-34).
John Maxwell, in his book called "TALENT IS NEVER ENOUGH" says "practice sharpens your talent", but he stresses that BELIEF is important if talent is to make a difference in my life. He speaks about BELIEF IN YOURSELF but I think that if I am to live out the purpose for which I am created then it is BELIEF AND TRUST IN CHRIST that will give me a passion to energize my talent, focus to direct my talent, perseverance to sustain my talent, responsibility to strengthen my talent and character to protect my talent. Esau lacked a BELIEF IN GOD that would sustain the destiny of a firstborn son with a God-given BIRTHRIGHT. John Maxwell is right - TALENT IS NEVER ENOUGH.
The invitation I have today is to see that God wants to use not only my spiritual gifts but all my gifts and abilities, my motivations, my personality and my life experiences to serve Him and achieve the purpose for which I have been created. Someone said "Your talent is GOD'S GIFT TO YOU. What you do with it is YOUR GIFT BACK TO GOD." 1 Peter 4:10-11 (NLT) says "God has given each of you a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God Himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then EVERYTHING YOU DO will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to Him forever and ever! Amen."