The proverbial ostrich buries his head in the sand. Jesus would not be too impressed. In the parable of the talents he has some harsh words for the person who buries his talents.

Most of us have more talents from the neck up than we realize, and many of us have buried them rather developed them and made the most of them. Metaphorical ostriches.

According to Dr Anthony Smith (in his book, The Mind), one man with an IQ of 126 achieved a first-class degree in math at Sheffield University in England. When he subsequently had reason to have a scan, it showed that he literally had "virtually no brain". He had made the most of what he had. But most of us make only modest use of our brain's phenomenal potential.

Think, for example, of how we shamefully under-use our noses. No one knows why different molecules have different odours. But they do. And with practice, humans can detect and distinguish 10,000 different smells. But they don't. Because they don't practice. Male moths, on the other hand, take the need for olfactory skills more seriously. They can detect the scent of females more than a mile away, which, according to John Carey in his review of Dr Smith's book, if you adjust upwards for body weight, is like a male Londoner sniffing out a woman in Siberia. Unless they have their head in the sand.

Your brain contains 15 billion nerve cells - about as many as there are stars in our galaxy. These are joined by synapses 1000 times more numerous than the cells, creating the possibilities for connections - more connections than the number of atoms in the entire universe. And one day, according to the parable of the talents, we will have to give account for what we did with all that we have.

So when we hear people making excuses about why they really are not cut out for studying the scriptures, or thinking about theological issues, or reading serious books, I wonder if those excuses will be seen to be as flimsy as the man's in the parable. We just buried our talents.

Our unwillingness to stretch our mental muscles is not helped by the anti-intellectualism of our age. According to Dr Smith, when a woman in a run-down urban setting was told that her son had an IQ of 167 she objected, "But he's such a nice boy!" Aptitude with the brain is looked down on in large sections of our society. But among God's people, it should not be that way. If He has given us all those cells and synapses, we had better start making some connections.

Take your head out of the sand. Start to bury your head in a book. Try to get your head around this sentence: You can think more than you think you can. And then connect all those thoughts to the Lord and the pursuit of his glory.

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