Are you easily impressed? Most of us are. We are wowed by a person’s talent and gush over their ability to speak, sing, or act well because we like to be entertained. Then, most of us will attribute good motives to people simply because they appeal to our eyes and ears. Human history is full of stories where a good-looking, well-dressed, well-spoken person has duped the multitudes into believing them.

A person’s ability to speak, sing, act, or present well in front of others gives them a shortcut to distinction. It promotes a person into the limelight. It raises them head-and-shoulders over the crowd. The crowd then often imparts to them a level of authority or credibility when all the person has done is exercise their God-given ability or talent.

In How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie said,

The person who has this ability is usually given credit for other abilities out of all proportion to what he or she actually possesses (italics are mine). It will make the listener and the speaker overlook other areas that the speaker may fall very far short on.

In the church, we see this same mistake time and again. Many of us wrongly assume talent and the ability to draw a large crowd is the same as building a healthy church family… NEWS FLASH: a large crowd does not equal a large healthy church. It can, but this is not typical. When a church has been built on people’s talent and ability, and many have, it has been built upon flesh and not upon Holy Spirit-given direction and anointing, sadly.

God gives talent and ability. Some people have been given immeasurable talent and ability, which draws crowds, but we should never assume that talent and ability automatically includes character and integrity; neither does a leadership title automatically include charter and integrity–often, the gift or talent opened the door to the leadership position, not the Holy Spirit.

Believers should take note: God does NOT pour out His precious anointing upon people with broken and compromised character for those people to then assume to stand before others and pretend to be ministers. NO! God does not pour the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon a sinful and corrupted character, one who is willfully unrepentant, because it would break the person. But, this person can still operate the gifts God has given them (Rom 11:29). Talent and gift can be wildly impressive and do stir people’s emotions, but if you do not discern the difference, you will believe this person ministered to you when all that happened was their spiritually-barren flesh ministered to your flesh and you felt an emotional high for a few hours.

When people operate from their flesh it can draw big crowds because we all love to be wowed and impressed by great talent. But in the church, this is detrimental to people’s spiritual life. It becomes another example of the blind leading the blind (Matt 15:14): the spiritually-barren leading others into spiritual barrenness.

A crowd is fickle and will follow someone or something better as soon as it comes along. We see this is Jesus’ life. Crowds were drawn by His miracles, amazed at His early teachings, and they followed Him all over Judea. The same crowds left Him once He began teaching truths that were harder to swallow, like Him stating He was the Son of God or of Him being the Bread of Life (John 6:22-71). The crowd followed because it initially felt good, they were wowed and impressed, but once it got a little harder, they left Him.

When it comes to people, I am not impressed by their gifts or talent; not at all. Whatever God has given a person has been given for God’s glory and honor. It is to be used to serve others. It is not to be used by the gifted person to garner honor or glory for themself or to seek followers after themself but to continually point to Jesus…

This is what the person of character does; their whole life will point back to Jesus. Their gifts and talents may be being honed and developed all the time, but they will be laid at the feet of Jesus and used for His purposes, used for His honor, and to serve others.

I am impressed by a person of great character and integrity. I am impressed by a person who has developed a track record of trust with the Lord, the person who lives a life that produces good lasting fruit, despite whatever gifts and talent they have. This person has not shortcut their way to distinction or success in the world’s eyes. What is impressive about this person is that they carry a rare heavenly authority, God’s mark of distinction. This is the life God desires we all live before Him:

  • No wrong dependence upon ability and talent
  • No seeking to impress people with ourselves
  • No false pretending we have spiritual maturity because we are “gifted”
  • No self-seeking glory and honor from people
  • Seeking only to please God
  • Seeking to live obediently to Him
  • Seeking to use the gifts and talents He has given to serve others
  • Seeking to bring great glory and honor to His Name
  • Valuing all God’s people the same, no partiality, giving dignity to all

This is the life God loves! This is the life God marks with His distinction and puts His strong anointing upon.