Cultivate Gifts Within


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Carlos E. Asay

"...Third, you must avoid blindness of mind by discovering and cultivating the gifts within.  Paul advised Timothy, 'Neglect not the gift that is in thee' (1 Tim. 4:14).  The Apostle may have said this in reference to priesthood conferral and blessings.  I personally believe, however, that there is a broader application.

Unless I am mistaken, one of the purposes of this university, and of other universities, is to help students discover their talents, interests, and special abilities.  Such discoveries may come easily and early; others may surface painfully and much later.  But the search must go on.  Eventually, one's potential contributions take focus, and the cultivation of the gifts becomes serious.

Precious time and energy can be wastedif, in the probing for gifts, one is not perfectly honest with himself.  There is the maxim which warns:  'You can't lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse.  If you do think you look funny on a horse, then postpone the charge'  (Speigel's Laws of Management).  I would add, sell the horse and seek to lead out in some other way.

I suspect that many of you have wondered where you were when the gifts were distributed.  Perhaps you even feel that you were completely overlooked.  At times I have envied the gifts made apparent in the lives of others.  I have wondered why I haven't received more of an endowment. 

But as I have studied this subject and my knowledge of gifts has increased, I have repented of past feelings, for I now know that 'to every man (and woman) is given a gift by the Spirit of God'  (D&C 46:1).   I also know that every man and woman has his or her own gift of God (see 1 Corin. 7:7). Furthermore,  I know that some may be given an abundance of gifts (see D&C  46:29).

We find in holy writ more than a casual invitation to obtain spiritual gifts.  We are told to desire spiritual gifts, seek earnestly the best gifts, lay hold upon every good gift, and to apply ourselves to our own special gift  (see 1Corin. 14:1; D&C 46:8;  Moroni 10:30; D&C 8:4).

Gifts are not cast freely into the wind.  They must be sought, they must be cultivated, they must be used to benefit others--for that is the condition upon which they are granted.  Always bear in mind that they are reserved for those who love God and keep his commandments.

Is it possible that a gift lies dormant within you?  Perhaps you haven't mined deeply enough within the recesses of your soul to discover the 'gold' that resides there.  Maybe you haven't heeded sufficiently the subtle intimations of the Spirit which provide clues to special and inner powers.

When a man ignores the spiritual dimension of his soul, he binds himself with the weaknesses of the flesh.  But when he recognizes the divine spark within and allows that spark to be kindled by heavenly fires, almost limitless powers are unleashed. 

Moses did not become the great deliverer until spiritual powers were ignited within him;  Joseph Smith, the young farm boy, did not become the prophet of the Restoration until he sought light and truth; and we will never rise to saintly heights until we seek gifts that will magnify our physical, mental, and spiritual capacities. 

(Excerpt from:  Carlos E. Asay,  BYU Devotional "Would You Sell",  March 13, 1984)