Artist's Lane

Your gift is not for you


On the evening of March 28, 1990, the Chicago Bulls played the Cleveland Cavaliers. Michael Jordan led his team to victory, 117-113. His scoring brought him to a career high of 69 points, giving him a legendary title in basketball.

A rookie, Stacy King, also played for the Bulls. King took four foul shots and missed. On the fourth, missing his first shot, the ball went into the basket on the second one.

After the game, the newscasters crowded around Jordan. A reporter found King and asked him about the game. King said to the reporter, “I’ll always remember this as the night that Michael Jordan and I had a combined score of 70 points.”

I laughed when I heard this story and thought of all the people on my team who have helped me look good in my writing career bolstering points for me. Many writers have given me their knowledge, time and help to score some winning articles and write some great novels.

One Sunday morning in 1987 I sat in church, shaking like a leaf. The next day I was about to face the biggest trial of my life. I needed a word from God.

A man, who had been given a gift of singing and a superb voice, stood in front of 3,000 people and sang, “We are standing on holy ground.”

We knew from his excellent delivery he had prepared years for this moment. The man sang with perfection. His gift of music opened my heart to the Lord. I knew I would be OK.

When he finished, the audience stood and clapped. He shook his head and pointed to the heavens.

He did not know me or that I was facing a criminal trial as a witness against two brothers and an art company the next day. Two brothers had provided fraudulent art to their salesmen to sell.

For three years, I sold the signed and numbered prints as authentic and many people invested thousands of dollars. They were boiler room productions of worthless art. I did not know I had been selling fake art. My clients were forgiving.

I sat on the witness stand for two days, being drilled about my involvement with the company. I carried that song in my heart, knowing I was standing on holy ground and God was with me. I held the singer’s gift in my heart, which gave me the faith I needed to stand.

With great clarity, I answered targeted questions that could have incriminated me. The owners of the company were found guilty and faced the fiery furnace. Not one hair on my head was scorched as I walked out of that fiery trial.

The Apostle Paul told the Corinthians they were given speaking and teaching gifts to encourage and to bring others to an intimate knowledge of Jesus. The gifts were not for them, but for those who needed to believe.

“In Him, you have been made extravagantly rich in every way. You have been endowed with a wealth of inspired utterance and the riches that come from your intimate knowledge of him.” — 1 Corinthians 1:5 (TPT).

It took Jordan’s 69 points along with King’s one point to total 70. The singer paid hours, months and years in practice and prayer to give his gift so that I could stand victoriously.

Final brushstroke: Do we know the gifts that have been given to us are not for us, but for others who might need them and are struggling? That man will not know this side of heaven what he did for me as I carried his gift into the courtroom and stood against hostile people.

Comment from a reader: “Dear Betty, I just have to write to you to tell you how much I look forward to reading your column. I so relate to what you say, and how you love the Lord. When I read your essays, I feel the Holy Spirit speaking through you to me. Our closeness to Jesus is so overwhelming and wonderful. I hope you continue to write your articles for many, many more years. I want you to know my wife Joan was responsible for suggesting I read your column awhile back. She often suggests things I might enjoy. She is a fan of yours. ... We have a place in the Upper Blanco Basin that originally was built by Joan’s Grandparents around 1949. We live in Texas and have spent time up there every year of our 44 married years. We subscribe to the Pagosa Sun to keep up with things.  

“P Everett, Texas”

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