John the Baptist is truly an intriguing figure of history. He was a cousin of Jesus and literally prepared all those who would listen for this new way of life ushered in by a Messiah. Besides the key role he plays in the Gospel story, his depiction in Scripture, and then in literature, movies, and other media, gives us an image of a pretty unique person. How about locusts and wild honey for dinner? Can you imagine camel’s hair as a staple in your wardrobe? He lived differently, and he stood out among the status quo. Of course, his look and cuisine didn’t stand out nearly as much as his message.
How do you stand out? What separates you from the crowd? God has created each of us completely unique and with a combination of gifts like no one else. How can you uncover and understand your unique gifts? First, reflect on what makes you happiest in life. We are happiest when we are using the talents God gave us. Next, think about what comes naturally to you, whether it is a skill, task, or emotion. Recurring patterns in our behavior and experiences provide clues to our giftedness. Finally, what do other people see in you? The communities we live in, whether it is our family, parish, school, or workplace are filled with people who can provide clues to us by their observations. After these steps, can you say what makes you special? Now, let’s start to grow that, lean on it, and stand out in a way that brings glory to God.
Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS