Friday, September 9, 2011

Message from Keith deLaet, High School Teacher

The Power of Understanding God Given Gifts

A few years ago, Yahoo Answers was asked. “I know there are famous people throughout history who were rebellious, troublesome kids, always being sent to the principal’s office, but have grown into respectable citizens; actors, writers, presidents, etc. Can anyone think of a few?

This is the Best Answer - Chosen by Voters: There are many. Consider Alexander Graham Bell, George Burns, Jim Carrey, Prince Charles, Agatha Christie, Winston Churchill, Bill Cosby, Salvadore Dali, Leonardo da Vinci, Walt Disney, Albert Einstein, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Henry Ford, Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover, Ernest Hemingway, Dustin Hoffman, Magic Johnson, John F. Kennedy, John Lennon, Eleanor Roosevelt, Steven Spielberg, Henry Winkler and Robin Williams to name a few.

Some of those names may come as a surprise, but certainly many do not. As I thought about this dynamic in today’s world, I could not help but think of Joseph. He is given the gift of interpreting dreams, but in his youth he lacks wisdom and maturity in the use of the gift:

Genesis 37:5-8 5Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers they hated him even more. 6He said to them, "Hear this dream that I have dreamed: 7Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold,(A) my sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around it and(B) bowed down to my sheaf." 8His brothers said to him, "Are you indeed to reign over us? Or are you indeed to rule over us?" So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.

As he matures, Joseph uses his gift with more wisdom. Genesis 41:17-41 17Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Behold,(A) in my dream I was standing on the banks of the Nile. 18Seven cows, plump and attractive, came up out of the Nile and fed in the reed grass. 19Seven other cows came up after them, poor and very ugly and thin, 20And the thin, ugly cows ate up the first seven plump cows, 21but when they had eaten them no one would have known that they had eaten them, for they were still as ugly as at the beginning. Then I awoke. 22I also saw in my dream seven ears growing on one stalk, full and good. 23Seven ears, withered, thin, and blighted by the east wind, sprouted after them, 24and the thin ears swallowed up the seven good ears. And(B) I told it to the magicians, but there was no one who could explain it to me."

25Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. 26The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good ears are seven years; the dreams are one. 27The seven lean and ugly cows that came up after them are seven years, and the seven empty ears blighted by the east wind are also(D) seven years of famine. 33Now therefore let Pharaoh select a discerning and wise man, and set him over the land of Egypt. 34Let Pharaoh proceed to appoint overseers over the land and take one-fifth of the produce of the land[a] of Egypt during the seven plentiful years. 35And(J) let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh for food in the cities, and let them keep it. 36That food shall be a reserve for the land against the seven years of famine that are to occur in the land of Egypt, 39Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are. 40(L) You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command.[c] Only as regards the throne will I be greater than you."

Certainly Joseph’s early choices were frustrating to their many, but what would have happened if he had been disciplined in a way that stifled the spiritual gifts and he viewed the use of the gifts as wrong? As Parents, we must affirm God’s gifts and encourage their use in God honoring ways, moving our children from immaturity to maturity and from irresponsibility to responsibility. This will require prayer, submission to God, and a personal awareness as to what the Holy Spirit is doing in our lives as well as the lives of our children.


  1. Keith, Good insight. We do need to see the "potential" in our kids and not just the "potential for mischief". :-)

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Your list really got me thinking. Some of the people you mentioned eventually became caring and responsible people (Eleanor Roosevelt comes to mind); others are remembered by those who knew them as lifelong obnoxious bullies (John Lennon and Earnest Hemingway, for instance). The challenge for us as teachers is to help our troubled students find the better road. It’s a responsibility that needs to be handled with prayer. Thanks for the post! Lois


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