Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Clutching Our Talent To Ourselves

I have been contemplating the death of Amy Winehouse this week.

(I know, it's unlike me to contemplate any sort of social or entertainment related event. Stick with me.)

The media is in the typical post-media death fashion is wringing its hands in concern, wondering how such a "fine young talent" could be whisked away at such a young age, comparing her to other musical stars who also died at 27 (interestingly, it is only music stars. No world famous archaeologists die at 27?). The usual parades of minor stars and second level experts sit on the TV screen, expressing their opinions about why this happened, how she (probably) was doing better, and what this means for the music industry.

I did not know Miss Winehouse's music, and would scarcely be able to pull her out of a line up of similar looking women. I have it on good authority (whom I believe) that she was a unique talent. She was, that I can see, an attractive looking young woman. Barring drugs, she undoubtedly had a wonderful future.

But a wasted one. Her talent is forever silenced (her first album was in 2003; a mere 8 years of stardom), her life's song sung. Wasted (I use that term advisedly) on an addiction that promised more than, in the end, it was able to deliver.

But are we any better with the use of our talents?

The reality is that each of us has also been gifted with any number of talents by God, things that we can do that few can in a way no-one can. But are we any better about using those talents in a way that glorifies God than the deceased Miss Winehouse?

Sure, we can state we don't lose ourselves in chemical dependence or overtly self destructive behaviour. But we can lose ourselves in lesser things: pursuing that which is of no value, gratifying our own pleasures rather than using them for God's glory, laying them to the side because we don't like our gifts and wish we have others, simply selling out for something we think is better. These are societally acceptable ways to do things; they do not make us any less culpable of failing to use our talents.

Pay thought to Miss Winehouse; her soul is as valuable as any others. But before you condemn here to harshly for not appreciating what she had been given, look to your own soul and talents and how you are using them. Can we truly say we are any better?

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