”Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17).

A talent is a natural gift; something that one is born with. It is a unique and natural skill and ability that makes one stand out from others. Talent is not just knowledge that can be learned. However, one necessarily needs knowledge to bring out the best of one’s talent. Though talents aren’t learned, it however cannot stand the test of time, if it is not strengthened through knowledge. That is why, a talent that is not strengthened by way of improved knowledge, cannot grow, or reach its full actualization.

This precious unique and natural gift comes from above, it is given solely by God. It can’t be learned, it can’t be bought, it can’t be sold, it can’t be exchanged. It is unique, it is that unique identity of the individual person. We may have similar talents, but there is always something that makes each stand out. That is why it is a talent.

Why is talent a natural gift, even when one can learn the skills of singing, writing, dancing, playing football, etc, one may ask. Arguably, learning such skills only help to strengthen the already natural talent. That is why not everyone can sing beautifully well, or play football. Those who do so, are simply strengthening their unique natural talents.

Have you ever wondered why two persons would go on a music show, and one will be described as having a natural gift, and the other not? What makes one person priced above the other person is talent.

God has given every human this unique gift, to further enhance His kingdom. Thus, by our talents we are co-creators/co-workers in the earthly mission. That is why St Peter has this to say to us, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” (1Peter 4:10).

But sadly, many have passed on from this world without utilizing their God-given talents. In the words of Les Brown, which I do strongly believe, “The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes, and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream.” In addition, all because there was never a push from behind, all because the system was never favourable to make those talents blossom.

One thing that has remained a puzzle in life, is the world’s continued indifference towards the poor. Most of those talents lying helpless in the graves are as a result of their disadvantaged positions.

A talent can never blossom without a support system. And on this, the world is not doing enough. If only people are chosen based on talents, and not because of tribe, race, nationality, or social class, the world would be a much better place for all.

I have read occasions where a lot of people against all odds fought their way up, and their unique talents came to the limelight. But such was never possible without a push from behind. There are so many unique stories of rags to riches, grass to grace. But sadly, some throw away the ladders that helped them up.

Believe me or not, no talent ever blossom without being watered and manured. The watering and manuring therein is that push from behind, it is that ladder that helps to strengthen the already natural talent.

Many years ago, while I was in a junior secondary school, I read two unique books, “Without a Silverspoon”, and “Grass to Grace”. Those books helped me so much to understand better, the environment I grew up in. The books helped me know better about my neighbours, and about some of my classmates as well. I recalled back in the day, how we used to read from the light of naked lamps that formed dark smokes in our eyes and noses every night. For us, that was the only way many triumphed over our immediate poor environments and climbed up the ladders to where we are today.

Some of us as a result of parental boosts, excelled in our talents and gained scholarships into various institutions, from which today many of us are giving back to society. But sadly, many never made it up there.

I recalled how we took delight in those good old days, accompanying our classmates back to the bushes, and huts were they were living in the outskirts of the village where we grew up. I remembered the joy with which we celebrated ourselves, enjoyed common meals, and drank from the same water vessels, used same cups. Although we were poor, we never really gave it a serious thought, all we were preoccupied with was how we could make it in life.

I remembered how Sunday, a great football star, wore only one school uniform that was patched all over, from primary one to primary six, and his parents couldn’t afford to get him new ones. Yet, he led the school on many occasions to interschool sports competitions victories. Where is Sunday today? Sunday has ended up in the same hamlet, continuing in his father’s subsistence farming. Today, Sunday looks much older than his age-mates, with two wives and eight children. The last time, I met Sunday, I wept. I wept because that was a natural talent that would have brought pride to our beloved nation, if he had received a push from behind.

What about Friday, our best mathematics classmate; whose parents couldn’t afford Christmas clothes at every Christmas? One who when for the first time he ate chicken in our house on a Sunday afternoon, felt like it was Christmas. Today, Friday is a palm wine tapper, married with four children still in the village where his mathematics fame was widely known.

I can go on and on, giving instances of unused talents that crossed my path in life.

Some of today’s rich and famous people rose from rags to riches, from grass to grace because at the time, we had grassroots talents search. But today where is the grassroot talents search that saw them rise to fame?

A few days ago, the videos of a 9yr old Oluomachi Joseph Opara, from Ahiazu Mbaise LGA Imo State, went viral, because of his unique natural voice. As I watched the videos that echoed the natural/beautiful voice of little Oluomachi, I could not hold back my tears. Rich as Oluomachi in his God’s given talent, he was until his now hopeful adoption, a street hawker.

May God bless and reward the young man who discovered little Oluomachi, and made the videos for the world to see. I feel consoled now that those videos have attracted sympathizers, and possible helpers.

May Oluomachi’s talent never die, and when he eventually gets up there someday, may he not throw away the ladder that is about to help him up.

As we talk about this little star whose talent has drawn national attention, let us not forget there are millions of Oluomachis out there in the streets. Let us not be indifferent to them, let us play the much role that we can to help their talents see the limelight.

By the viral videos of Oluomachi’s talent, the social media has once again proven to us that we can get the best from it. Let us continue to make the best of it.

I sincerely plead with government at all levels to please bring back our grassroot talent searches that our parents told us about in the good old days. Doing so, we will be preparing a better future for the coming generation.

If we can like Britain and other developed countries of the world, let us have a ministry or platform called, “Nigeria’s Got Talent,” to help promote talents from primary to higher institutions. Let us search for talents in academics, music, dancing, sports, etc. Doing so, we will be preparing a better Nigeria for the coming generation.

For together, we can take the likes of little Oluomachi from the streets and make them actualize their God-given talents.

May God bless and reward all those who have helped to take the likes of Oluomachi off the streets. Amen.

Together, we can!

© Israel GodsPower ANAWEOKHAI, MSP

Israel GodsPower ANAWEOKHAI is a Catholic Priest of the Missionary Society of St Paul of Nigeria. He is currently on mission in the Archdiocese of Douala, Cameroon.

Image Credit@PIXABAY