“I Had My Own Lab!” (Jeremiah 1:5)

“I had my own lab!”

It was the summer after my sophomore year in college and I was engaged in research in a medical laboratory. On my team was an exceptionally gifted man who just graduated from college and would soon begin his first year at medical school at a prestigious east coast university. He was an intriguing blend of an affable nature paired with a sardonic wit. I was always on my guard since he would often say things just to needle me and see my reaction. Not this time. In a rare candid admission near the end of the summer, he went on to describe in great detail the grants he obtained and research that he conducted. I was so naive at that time, I didn’t comprehend the significance of his statement. He was an undergraduate student but his research was so highly valued that the chair of the department gave him his own lab over other faculty members and graduate students. It was unprecedented! The confidence his undergraduate professors had in him was not misplaced. Today he is an oncologic surgeon and the head of the surgery department for a prestigious university teaching hospital. He is a thought leader in his field and his research has led to many advances in oncology. In retrospect, as a budding researcher, I could have learned so much more from him but it was my missed opportunity, distracted by his personality.

In my spiritual walk with God, how many times have I also disregarded the gifts that someone could have shared with me? Acquaintances, friends, teachers, co-workers-the list is endless. I could have learned so much from each of them. Instead, I was distracted by their personality quirks, coloring my perceptions of them and letting it obscure their true gifts, not understanding their significance.

I chose you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart before you were born. I appointed you a prophet to the nations.

Jeremiah 1:5 (CSB)

Thanks be to God that He knows our full potential and gifts. God told Jeremiah the prophet that He had a special purpose for him, and set him apart even before he was conceived. How wonderful! God asked Jeremiah to do many unusual and difficult tasks to communicate His message. Would I have listened and learned from Jeremiah or would I have been distracted by his personality quirks and unorthodox methods? One of our purposes in this life is to honor God and treat every person as a true gift from God. When I do not immediately recognize someone’s special gifts, I need to look beyond the personality and honor the person. 

God is always speaking to me, but will I have ears to hear and listen?

Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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