“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.
Produce yourself on the foundation of your individuality
Each person has multiple talents—both big and small—that he or she is born with. However, there are two types of people: 1) those who develop their talents and use them and 2) those who just use their talents as they are without developing them. If you develop your talents, they’ll become even more tremendous and you’ll become a professional. That’s the work of production. Doing the work of production means continuously putting in the effort to develop yourself.
Consider a bonsai tree. To do the work of production, you would prune off the little branches, clean it up, trim back any long stems, and use wires to shape it so that the tree grows to be well-balanced. Also, you would put it in a high-quality pot and position it perfectly where many people will see it. Depending on how you produce it, its value can increase by 10 or 20 times, but if you just leave it as it is, its value will be less. Like trees, each person also has unique qualities, whether it is a quality like having deep roots, being big and tall, or shining as a work of art.
As you develop yourself, you gain tremendous hope, vision, and joy. But if you live just as your parents made you, it’s not as satisfying. Being made from the genes of your parents is the first creation which gives you your talents and abilities. But you shouldn’t just leave it at that. You have to make yourself a second time. It’s just a matter of your developing yourself.
Be deeply rooted in Christ
What are the roots of a human being? It’s their thoughts and mentality. It’s their attitude—the essence. A person has to have big thoughts and a big mentality. Then, upon that foundation, they can do things in big ways. Your actions can’t be big when your thoughts are small. You become a great person through big thoughts, abundant thoughts, and the ability to comprehend well.
In this way, we can say that Jesus was a masterpiece. Jesus lived life like other people, but because he lived being united with God, his roots were extremely thick and strong. Through him, the people who were faithful did not fall over but grew even stronger despite winds of tribulation throughout 2,000 years of New Testament history.
Think of it as a parable: When a farmer sows seeds into a rocky field, the crops can’t send down their roots, so they ultimately fall over and die. Therefore, you must send your roots down firmly into the fertile field of Christ. Produce yourself to become a masterpiece—a person with deep roots. Such a person will not fall over.
Know the value of your talents and abilities
Things are valued the most when they are made together with God. God created the heavens and the earth in a way that fits our unique qualities so that we could use them according to our unique abilities. So don’t say, “God didn’t make me completely.” Now that God has made you, you have to develop yourself and your environment in a way that fits you, in the way that you like.
You have to develop yourself with the attitude that you’re going to be the best in your area before God. Athletes make themselves with the attitude that they’re going to be the best athlete in the world. But even then, they barely manage to win a gold medal. If they aim for second or third best, why do it? Then the best that they can get is a silver. Even if they compete with the attitude that they’re going to be the very best and believe it 100%, if they do a little bit less, they’ll end up with a silver or a bronze medal. We, too, have to live our lives with the attitude that we’re going to do the very best.
Just as a rare pine tree has great balance, tremendous size, unique appearance, or thick roots, you have to be able to do at least one thing well. If you have at least one good quality, you will be noticed. Then, gradually, people will recognize you for other things as well.
Each person has their own unique quality, so find yours, develop it, and use it. Use it together with God and the Holy Spirit; if you do it on your own, it will be difficult. Don’t be disappointed in yourself but produce yourself well, making your body and your spirit healthy. If you value the work of production, then you’ll become a person who is valued by both the heavens and the earth.