The Gift of Genius

On Saturday, I took my daughter and her friend to see the play Amadeus. It’s about two composers, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri.

 

Mozart is the younger artist who amazes everyone with his musical prowess. Salieri, on the other hand, labors over his compositions without ever reaching the same caliber of genius.

The difference in their giftedness is also paralleled by the difference in their maturity. Mozart shocks his peers with lewd remarks and vulgar gestures while Salieri commits his lifelong work of composition to the glory of God.

When I saw the film adaptation of this play twenty years ago, the younger me yearned for dear Salieri. His heart’s desire to serve God with his gifts resonated with my young heart. I prayed for God to use me, and I offered any gifts I might have for His service.

Two decades later, I now see this play from a different perspective.

Salieri longs to be known as a gifted composer, so he prays for God’s divine blessing upon his work. In exchange, Salieri promises to live a life worthy of God’s keeping.

Salieri tries to make a bargain with God.

I’ve tried making a few bargains myself over the years. But I’m different now. And I’m constantly reminded of Jesus’ words to James and John.

When James and John sought important positions in Jesus’ new Kingdom, Jesus responded: “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” (Matthew 20:22).

They eagerly said they could, but they didn’t know what they were talking about. And Jesus told them so.

Like James and John, we sometimes long for positions of importance. Or, like Salieri, we long to be renown for our giftedness. Perhaps we do so with genuine desires “to be used” for God’s purposes.

But I have come to learn something.

God is less concerned with our giftedness and more concerned with our brokenness.

Unless we are broken, we cannot be used.
Unless we are crushed, like grapes in a winepress, we cannot be poured out like wine.

Can you drink from this cup?

These words reverberate within me every time I find myself “longing” for a particular gift or “to be used” in a certain way.

The cup is filled with suffering.

We want glory. We say we don’t. But we do. So what should we do?

Surrender.
Look neither to the right nor the left.
Run the race marked out for me, the race marked out for you.
And let God use whomever He chooses.

Let’s face it. Sometimes He uses a donkey.

Sometimes He uses a fisherman filled with fear.
Sometimes He uses a murderer filled with hate.
Sometimes He uses a woman filled with shame.

Sometimes He uses me. Sometimes He uses you.
Despite our failures. Despite our yearnings.

God doesn’t need our gifts, but He wants our brokenness – the place where we come to Him, surrendered and forgiven.

I want to be less focused on “being used” and more focused on “being infused” with the likeness of Him.

I like the way Oswald Chambers puts it:

“If you seek great things for yourself, thinking, ‘God has called me for this and for that,’ you barricade God from using you . . . We must learn that the purpose of our lives belongs to God, not us . . . All He asks is that we trust Him.(My Utmost for His Highest, November 10)

The purpose of our lives belongs to God. All He asks is that we trust Him.

Whether we wish to write or paint or speak or sing, we must first abide – solely and completely – in Him alone, laying our gifts on the altar.

14 thoughts on “The Gift of Genius

  1. This is beautiful! I love Amadeus and I can so relate to this parallel you've observed. Oh, how I long to be more broken, surrendered, and willing to trust with abandon the Faithful One who calls.

  2. Brokenness…a period of time my family now faces as my nine-year old son battles cancer. Though the prognosis looks good, a long uncertain road lies ahead. But we know the brokenness ultimately makes us stronger. God continues to give us brief glimpses as to the “whys” as we journey on. Glad I stumbled upon your blog!

  3. Nurse talking. Broken bones form a callous as part of the healing process. When it is healed the bone is stronger in the place where it was broken. Us too but it is strength at a dear cost.

    Loved the bouquet on this one, Denise. Master's table fare. Many thanks.

    Kat/Anchorage

  4. “God doesn’t need our gifts, but He wants our brokenness – the place where we come to Him, surrendered and forgiven.”

    This is a beautiful, needed reminder. Thank you!

  5. I truly breathe in these life words: “I want to be less focused on “being used” and more focused on “being infused” with the likeness of Him.”

    brokenness, crushed like grapes in a winepress, suffering…amazing how He brings the beauty of true usefulness through these.

    Thank you for realigning me today.

  6. This sobers me–me in my longings to be used for great things. I've had my share of brokenness…do I want more? Do I value his plan in the brokenness?

    “God is less concerned with our giftedness and more concerned with our brokenness.”
    Amen. May I submit.

  7. God is less concerned with our giftedness and more concerned with our brokenness. – oh Denise this is so true!

    With each line I was agreeing with you.

    Can you drink from this cup? Is ringing in my ears.

    Thank you for linking up. I needed this!

  8. “God is less concerned with our giftedness and more concerned with our brokenness.”

    It makes so much more sense to me now, as you say, then it did years ago, realizing that my longings also come with a “cup of suffering.”

    This was such a poignant reminder. Thank you for that.

  9. This is a beautiful piece Denise and it resonates with me. It came on a day when I needed to hear the words “God is less…” I do think that Our Lord works powerfully through you, you are such an inspiration.
    Blessings and prayers,
    Ann

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s