in humility.

great words from ancient spiritual father John Chrysostom. he's talking specifically about the gift of speech/preaching, but this easily applies to any gift/ability...

i have been given the power of speech. there is no intrinsic merit in this; it is not something for which i should be especially admired or respected. to possess this gift, like any other natural ability, is a blessing bestowed by God; admiration and respect should be directed toward him. the challenge facing me is how i use this gift. do i develop it through seeking guidance of accomplished speakers and through practice? more importantly, do i use it in the service of God or myself? of course i may also claim to use it in God's service, and even congratulate myself on the excellent sermons i preach. but how easily pride infects the use of this gift. when i hold the attention of a congregation, when each person is concentrating on my every word, when my eloquence stirs every heart that hears me, how easily my head begins to swell. instead of simply being a mouthpiece of God, i begin to imagine myself divine. the gift of speech, which is truly a blessing, can so easily become a curse, poisoning the soul that possesses it.

>> john chrysostom.

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