Growing up, I always loved sports. As a high-energy kid, I was always on the move. I didn’t really enjoy reading or watching TV because I had so much energy. I tried a bunch of different sports for a season or two – baseball, basketball, soccer, BMX bike racing, roller skating and more. I was pretty athletic and enjoyed all of these.
But when I played my first official soccer game in 3rd grade, I was hooked immediately. Something just clicked. I loved the constant running; something about the continual flow and fluidity of the game connected with me in a way I never experienced with any other sport. I believe God, even then, was planting the initial seeds of passion in my heart for this sport that would later become an incredible avenue of impact for my life:
“…Christ has given each of us special abilities – whatever he wants us to have out of his rich storehouse of gifts.”
Ephesians 4:7 TLB
It is the same and only Holy Spirit who gives all these gifts and powers, deciding which each one of us should have.
1 Corinthians 12:11 TLB
In high school, while honing my soccer skills playing select league and state team soccer, I began to study Spanish. At first, it was just a class to fulfill a second language requirement. But soon it became my favorite class and I enjoyed immensely learning and trying to speak the language.
These activities led me to many friendships and opportunities in high school and college. I got to live in Spain for my junior year of college, studying psychology in Spanish at the University of Madrid and playing college soccer there. At the time, it was just an exciting experience I thoroughly enjoyed, but little did I know that God was refining my talents for a much larger purpose.
Though I dreamed of being a professional soccer player or living in Spain one day, God had even bigger plans. The passion and skills I was developing with soccer from high school through graduate school and my ability to speak Spanish would both become integral in serving others later in my life. Now as a Christian, these skills have opened a door of opportunity to reach so many people.
“…Much is required from those to whom much is given, for their responsibility is greater.”
Luke 12:48 TLB
“Yes, God will give you much so that you can give away much…”
2 Corinthians 9:11 TLB
As a young Christian, my perspective on life changed – from looking at myself and what I could achieve to looking at others and what I could give. From this shift in perspective, I realized God had given me a wealth of opportunities, talents, and experiences in my young life to now give away!
“He gave $5,000 to one, $2,000 to another, and $1,000 to the last-dividing it in proportion to their abilities-and then left on his trip.  The man who received the $5,000 began immediately to buy and sell with it and soon earned another $5,000.  The man with $2,000 went right to work, too, and earned another $2,000.”
Matthew 25:15-17 TLB
When you use your talents and gifts, God adds to and multiplies them. Over the past 20 years, I’ve had the opportunity to use my love for soccer and the Spanish language in building the now-acclaimed E-Sports program to serve families of special needs children here in the Bay area and abroad. Using my talents in this way has enabled me to learn so much more about special needs and how to work with both typical and special needs children to help them develop.
These experiences have proven such a blessing over the years as my wife and I learned that one of my own sons has special needs. All the years of learning and working with kids who have ADHD on the soccer fields helped me immensely to be a more understanding and better dad to my own son as his ADHD challenges began to present themselves when he was in first grade. Now an 8th grader, he is progressing in a great way. He serves and coaches at E-Hoops as a peer coach helping other kids with special needs learn basketball!
God clearly gives each of us certain talents and gifts for a unique purpose. He has given you the specific abilities and talents that he wants you to have!
How will you use your talents and gifts so God can keep adding to them? How can your talents change lives around you? What unique purpose could be aligned with the talents God has blessed you with?
God always has shown us that these messages are true by signs and wonders and various miracles and by giving certain special abilities from the Holy Spirit to those who believe; yes, God has assigned such gifts to each of us.
Hebrews 2:4 TLB