Last year I was involved in a multi-car crash on one of the busiest highways in the world. Thankfully I was alone in my car and there were no serious injuries among all the drivers and passengers involved. Still, it took me a while to recover from the combined effects of whiplash and a concussion.

The whiplash was easily remedied with some doctor-prescribed exercises, but the effects of the concussion were much more disturbing and harder to shake. For roughly three weeks I was disoriented and had tremendous trouble focusing on what were once routine activities. Reading, writing, even casual conversations quickly exhausted my scattered brain. Many times my family and friends observed that I was "not myself".

In March my wife and I shared in the marriage celebration of our friends Johnny and Lindsay. Like many of the guests, I had played baseball with Johnny in our younger days. Several old teammates were there, some a bit heavier, some with considerably more gray hair, and some with very little hair. And some still quite boisterous.

I'm sure Perry didn't mean for it to happen. When he picked me up in a playful bear hug, I am positive that he did not plan to fall backwards onto the concrete patio. It all happened so fast, I barely had time to throw my hands behind his head to cushion our fall. His head struck my right hand, breaking my scaphoid bone.

For three weeks my hand was in a fiberglass cast. For an additional week I wore a removable splint. Common pursuits such as showering, brushing my teeth and shaving shifted from being quick, mindless exercises to awkward, extended and strenuous chores.

I had forgotten how precious my resources were - my mind, my hand - until I lost them. Thank God I eventually got them back.

Looking back on both events, I was reminded of the parable of the three servants. One verse in particular spoke to me loud and clear:

"To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away."

Frankly, I wasn't using my gifts well. The writing of my second book and my newsletters was at a standstill. I hadn't been reading or learning. I was not being a good steward of the resources God had blessed me with. I had somehow lost a grasp of my vocation.

So God allowed those things to be taken away for a while. Only then did I truly appreciate them. I'm grateful that He allowed them to return, and gave me another shot at the stewardship of my gifts.

Have you ever allowed your vocation to slowly fade into the background? Have the activities that make the most of your gifts, bless others, energize you and ignite your passion been pushed aside for other pursuits?

If it all crashed today, what would you regret not using well?

"We can stand affliction better than we can prosperity, for in prosperity we forget God." - Dwight L. Moody

Author's Bio: 

Humorist Will Rogers once observed, "There are three kinds of men - ones that learn by reading, a few who learn by observation, and the rest of them have to pee on the electric fence and find out for themselves."

Though he has never braved a real electric fence, Larry understands the above metaphor all too well. His life is more a series of clumsy learning experiences than a polished "how-to" manual.

Remarkably, God has called Larry to share these slices of imperfection and accumulated wisdom with readers from over thirty countries around the world - those fortunate souls who prefer to learn through reading and observation.

Larry's first book, Get the Prize, was published in 2003. He is currently writing his second book, expected to be released in 2010.

He lives in Canada with his wife and four children.

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