Christian Living, Ministry

RE: Spiritual Gifts (2)

We’ve started a discussion about how our we get confused when it comes to our spiritual gifts. The people around us often identify the skills we’ve acquired in life, whether for work or personal use, to be our spiritual gifts.

We mentioned that one reason this happens is because those evaluating or examining us, trying to figure out our gifts, often do so by first comparing our abilities to their own and those around us. If we stand out in an area, we must be gifted there. There is another filter that those close to us make use of, and that’s my topic for this post.

Another filter in use by those around us, encouraging the identification of some parts of our lives over others, is that they are often looking to find those people and skills that can best enhance their own lives, work or ministry.

Who can really fault someone for looking to enhance what they feel called to do in life? I’m sure I’ll end up doing it to others as I progress in my ministry, but I hope that the experiences I have had through the years will help me to recognize and amend those ways when they creep up. The worst of those experiences was when I was pulled into the senior pastor’s office and had it yelled in my face that above everything else, my job was to make him look good.

Granted, part of the assisting role that I’ve been in for a number of years now is given to helping tSo make things look good. It probably doesn’t help that the skills I’ve picked up in the secular workplace have given me an eye and the ability to make some things look really good. But that’s just something I’ve added to my skill set to enhance a greater calling in my own life. It’s not my passion or purpose or calling in itself.

A group of our local pastors recently watched a DVD with Marcus Buckingham as he spoke at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit. In that session, he detailed the one thing that managers and leaders need to know in order to manage or lead effectively. He mentioned how the role of the manager is to recognize what is unique in an individual and then to capitalize on it, even to the point where the person`s goals and passions take precedence over those of the company. Why? Because when that person is doing what he or she is best at, passionate about, and motivated to do, the company will be better for it.

Another statement that Marcus Buckingham made is that we can drive ourselves made by doing the things we are good at. We might not take pleasure in them, but we continue to do them because we are good at them. I think this is where author and speaker Jim Collins would step and remind us that Good is the enemy of Great. We can get caught up in the Good, but what will bring the most return, the greatest fulfillment, is to do what is Great.

You may be wondering why this is such a hot button with me. The truth is that I feel that a major part of my calling as a pastor is to help and lead people to finding out what God has called them and gifted them to do. They may not get into it right away or be in a place where it is fulfilled regularly (something I can identify with). But to see them released in it, even for a season, is rewarding for me.

A piece of that is when you are in a place that’s not fulfilling for an extended amount of time, you feel the toll it takes, draining you in body and spirit. And when you don’t have a clue at all about what you’re built by God to do, you just feel lost in everything else that you do.

I had the opportunity to speak with a woman late last week about her work and personal life. She mentioned that she had been in her current position for a few years now, and her supervisor had asked where she wanted to be in 10 years. Her honest answer was that she didn’t have a clue. She knew she had gifts because people told her she did, but she had never had the opportunity to learn about them for herself. I was able to give her some material to help her out, and I plan to check up on her later this week. She was so excited to be able to discover more about who she was, who God made her to be.

Don’t get bogged down in what other people think your gifts are. They have some insight into you that you may not be able to see yourself, but they are not God, and they don’t know the whole story. We mean well when we try to identify gifts in other people, but we’re imperfect, and our motives are not always the purest. Be encouraged to find out what your true gifts are. Investigate them and know that they are yours alone, for the work God has given you. And chase after their fulfillment with all you have.


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