Songwriter Harry Chapin spun a tale of a man named Mr. Tanner, a dry cleaner who was very good at his work. He was content with his chosen profession and loved his customers. Tanner was also a baritone who loved singing. Chapin said of Tanner, “He did not know how well he sang, it just made him whole.”
As the song goes, Tanner’s friends convinced him he should give up dry cleaning and pursue fame and glory. He would be able to leave the dry cleaning business, become famous and enjoy a life of great prosperity. Yet, it was not to be; his debut proved that, while talented, public performance was not his calling. Dejected, Tanner gave up singing and his life was not the same.
God blesses his people with many gifts and talents. Used for God’s purposes, our gifts and talents bring joy to others. Humbly sharing these for the sake of others glorifies our God through whom such gifts come. Of course, there is always the temptation to seek glory, fame and fortune for ourselves, especially when swayed by others.
Just as Jesus teaches there are people of the world who would lead us astray, so too Paul teaches us that we are to be content with all God’s provides. Worldly influences may tempt us to seek glory for ourselves, but loving God and using our gifts to his glory brings joy and makes us whole.
Holy God, make us content with all you have provided, that it may be our joy to serve others. Amen.
“Mr. Tanner” by Harry Chapin, 1974. Album; Short Stories.