There is no such thing as God given Talent!

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The crowd noise was getting louder.

“When are you guys starting?” Shouted somebody in the crowd.

Usually before a gig I get anxious because I want to start making music immediately. Finally, Freddy P. got on the drums and started the groove. Then I grabbed my bass and joined in. After that each member jumped in one at a time and the crowd got excited.

I played for a hip hop funk band called Gloryforthepeople. We new how to draw the crowd and get people moving and grooving. I guess it was a gift. Here is a video of me back in the day with the band playing bass at the Blues Cafe in Long Beach.


One of the last tunes I got to do a bass solo, the crowd went wild! Woohoo! After we finished our set some fans came up and congradulated me on an awesome bass solo.

I felt good.

One person mentioned, “God has blessed you with great talent.” Later that night I thought, “was my talent God given, or practice driven?”

As I began as seasoned music instructor I realized the thousands of students that came through my door that were not talented at all and the percentage that were so call Talented. The students that did not achieve good musical skills were not at all that interested in practicing. But, the students that did great we’re so into their instrument and practiced tons.

This is not just my observation as a music instructor but also my observation in today’s society. The amount of effort you put into something will produce the result of whatever amount of efficient effort you put into it.

There is no such thing as God given talent!

I just want to stir the pot up a bit.

As a Christian musician I believe in miracles. I believe God can heal you or grant you a gift. But, when it comes to gifts and I don’t see why God would grant any of us special gifts unless it was only to serve him and his purpose not our own selfish purposes.

There are spiritual gifts that the Holy Spirit can give and it’s laid out here:

For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance ofwisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to anothervarious kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. Corinthians 12:8-11

These spiritual gifts are given as the holy spirits will it. The list here says nothing about gifts that have to do with: sports, music, art, or even entrepreneurship.

What I do believe in is God Given Desires!

God place extremely talented individuals at a certain place, time, and environment that fueled their desires. And because those desires were fueled by influence that could come from: family, friends, culture, school, teachers, etc. That created an explosion of desires, wants and needs for their particular subject or area of interest.

If my dad would have never taken me and my brother to piano class at the age of seven I probably would have never been a musician.

If Stevie wonder never touched a piano, he would be just another blind black dude.

If Joseph Jackson never pushed his son Michael Jackson to practice and practice I’m sure he would not have been the king of pop or got a nose job.

If Jimi Hendrix would have never picked up the guitar I’m sure he would still be alive today.

If Michael Phelps never got into a pool at such a young age he would have never creamed the competition in the Olympics.

“Outliers” is a fantastic book written by Malcolm Gladwell and touches on the subject of success. It talks about really successful individuals like the Beatles and what were the catalysts that led them to stardom. It’s a great read that I stumbled upon awhile back.

Genetics is not the case.

There is no such thing as talent genes and has never been proven scientifically and probably won’t be proven in my lifetime.

I know many tall black dudes that suck at basketball. Culture sometimes misleads us into believing the reasons why certain people act and behave a certain way is because of race and genetics. Total nonsense!

One of the music schools I use to teach at was right next to Compton California. Amongst many Asians that I taught, many black students were also on my roster. The stereotype goes that black kids are naturally good at sports and music.

Sorry to break it to you but I’ve had hundreds of black students walk through my teaching studio that couldn’t play a C chord if I paid them. I would say that less than 5% were actually pretty good.

My case is God places individuals in an environment that creates certain desires. Then leads to: learning, studying, training, dedication, discipline, passion, etc. Your efforts will lead to your success or your failure. Failure always comes first before success, but most people give up after they fail only once or twice.

Giving up after a couple of times generally means your desire isn’t that great. It could be maybe your environment isn’t feeding your desires. Your level of desire will determine your success.

First if all God is in control of everything, but our society likes to play on words that have different meanings.

The saying and wording; “God given talent” is incorrect.

Talent and skill is the result of desire, dedication, discipline, hard work and training. If God zapped us with the holy spirit and gave us talent at the tender age of 5. That would mean in the beginning of my guitar process at such a young age if I picked up my guitar and learned something from either an audio recording or from a teacher I would be able to play it perfectly.

There are a couple of instances in the bible where God granted certain individuals with incredible gifts, so I’m going to grant a bit of lee way, but the majority is not the case. Here’s one.

Bezalel and Oholiab

Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts. Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, to help him. Also I have given ability to all the skilled workers to make everything I have commanded you:

Exodus 31 1-6

God filled them with the holy spirit at that MOMENT and gave them the talent and skill to perform these tasks.

Talent is the combination of wisdom, understanding, knowledge and physical skills and there is no way God granted all of this to many of my so called gifted students in the beginning. UNLESS, God is really going to use them to serve a purpose for his will and most aren’t

Let’s correct the term.

The correct term is: “God given desires!”

I know it may sound weird to use this term instead because we have been cliched into using the same old term.

When folks say “God given talent” what they really mean is “God given desires” but most folks don’t think of it that way. We have been pre-programmed in our christian society to assume God zaps our young with all the skills and gifts instantly.

Though the bible mentions the case of couple of times that is not suffice to say that it’s for everyone. We can’t interpret the bible to mean something it was never intending to say. They call this Eisegesis. Click here if you are not familiar with this hermeneutical term.

While there are some exceptions the majority is not the case.

I hope this topic opens to comments. Feel free to give me your opinion, you can agree or disagree. I would love to hear what you have say.

God Bless and cheers

Roland

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