This I think is a general truism; most people tend not to get excited about developing their skills or knowledge.  Why is this do you think?  Is it because people’s experience of school was enough to put them off?  Or is it because with the pace of life people feel it’s an unnecessary optional extra?


Really but… is it an extra we can afford to do without?


As most people know I’m a lover of dogs.  We have two, a big friendly German Shepherd called ‘Cuba’ and a busy little border terrier called ‘Lola’. In her head she commands more authority than anyone else in the household, and sometimes I fear she may just be right.  I’ve been about dogs all my life and learnt a lot about them.  I learnt how to handle them from my mum who I nicknamed the family dog whisperer.  I have countless books on dog training, watched a good few TV programmes about it and attended a number of lessons.   I’m not an expert but generally speaking I’m good with dogs however  it’s neither a skill nor knowledge I was born with.  I needed to learn, work and grow in the area.



Surely all of life is the same.  If we want to be good at something then surely we need to be students of it, humble, enthusiastic and continually open to learning, learning for life and a life of learning as some educationalists would call it.

I’ve recently been struck by two passages of scripture which shed some light on the area.  The first is the ‘Parable of the Talents’ found in Matthew 25 vs 14-30.  I have always felt a little sorry for the last servant who buried the talent he was given, he seems to have had a lot of fear in his life and allowed it to blind him to the task in hand.  The condemnation from his master is strong and direct as he calls him lazy, takes the talent off him, and throws him out of the building. When we consider ourselves too busy to learn or train, are we burying our talents?  Are we busy with essential stuff or merely important appearing distractions? Recently I know the Lord spoke to me of a few of the later that had taken hold of my life.

The second piece of scripture is to be found in 2 Peter 1 vs 5-9.  It urges us to grow, develop and stretch.  It is of course referring to our spiritual development however that too does not come without intentional learning, focused effort, and application.  What are you reading at the moment? In what way is your knowledge developing? Are you making ‘every effort’ to add to your faith as Peter instructs us to do?

Two training opportunities that recently drew my attention is PCI’s  ‘My Place’ a training event on the evening of 7th December in First Holywood Presbyterian.  It will focus on how church supports families working with special needs.  The other is New Wine’s ‘Raising a Generation’ to be held on the morning of Saturday 2nd December at Willowfield Parish Church.  It will be a morning looking at the various aspects of discipling youth and children.  I cannot recommend them to you strongly enough!  (Click on either image for more info – article continues below)

I’m sure for some these don’t speak into your field of ministry or gifting.  Can I encourage you to look about, speak to others and to research what is available?  Let’s polish and develop our talents and skills as a community so that we as the body of Christ can delight His heart and fully glorify His name.  Let’s ensure our talents and gifts shine as brightly as possible for our King and His Kingdom.

Enjoy your weekend!

Written by Peter Martin.