“Everyone cannot soar like an eagle. Yet even the majestic eagle cannot run like a lion or swim like a dolphin. Each has his place on God’s great Earth.” These words motivated one young, ambitious duck to find his place in the world and enroll in the Wilderness School. The school offered a comprehensive curriculum on life in the wild. The required electives included Swimming 101; Running with Wolves: Successful Attack and Retreat Methods; Climbing for Crawlers; and Flight: Conquering the Air with Speed and Agility.

The duck easily breezed through Swimming 101. Sadly his fortunes changed when he took the flight course, and his grades dipped to average. Climbing and running caused the duck’s GPA to sink even lower. Since he performed worst in running, his counselors suggested he drop all of his other courses and concentrate on this elective.

Disappointed but determined to succeed, the duck worked hard to improve his running performance. After hours of toil and sweat, he finally earned a passing grade. He could continue his other courses now; but his feet had been so badly hurt from running that he could not swim, climb, or fly as well anymore. The poor creature would have done better to concentrate on building up his natural gifts than to try developing gifts he lacked.

There is nothing wrong with trying to learn new things. However, our time is best spent using our natural gifts to serve and build up the Body of Christ. This means we must honestly acknowledge and accept the fact we cannot do certain things. For example, some are excellent encouragers; others are better at lending a listening ear. Neither is better than the other. Rather, both may use their strengths to profit the Body of Christ.

Maybe you have been trying to excel in one area while your real strength is in another area. Learn to accept your weaknesses and capitalize on your strengths. God wants to use you as you are — even if you only see yourself as a duck.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.