By Special Guest Blogger Michael Blue
I often wrestle with the question of gifting and calling. So much so, that I periodically try to copy someone else’s gifting or calling in my own life.
A few years ago, I heard a pastor tell a story about carrying $100 bills around and giving them out to people as he felt led. These random acts of generosity had led to some remarkable stories. After hearing some stories, I decided I wanted to be a part of some of these types of stories. So, I went to the bank and got four $50 bills. I carried these bills around for about a week, struggling to give them away. (For some reason, I felt weird walking up to strangers and handing them money — okay, maybe that’s not so strange.) After chickening out for the better part of a week, I pulled into a gas station determined to walk in and give the cashier $50. Gathering my courage, I walked up to the cash register, paid for a drink, and handed a $50 bill to the attendant, saying something like, “Here’s a little gift for you to let you know how much God loves you.” Impressive, right? I had done it! Yeah, me. Unfortunately, this is when it became awkward. This sweet young girl looked at me and said, “I’m sorry, but I am not allowed to take tips.” She then handed the money back to me. I tried to protest and convince her it wasn’t a tip, but at this point it was weird. So, I took the money back and walked out the door, deflated.
While this makes a pretty amusing story, it taught me something very important. God gifts us all uniquely, and trying to be someone else simply doesn’t work. I want to have stories like this pastor has, but trying to be him (or be like him) is not honoring to God. God has made me with certain gifts and abilities and those are the things that I need to cultivate in following Him.
This point was driven further home when I was studying Romans 12. Paul, in this chapter, is talking about spiritual gifts and the uniqueness of each person’s gift. He writes in verse 11, “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.” Reading this verse in the context of the chapter, I believe Paul is exhorting us to not hesitate or be lazy in pursuing our gifting, but rather pursue it with a passionate intensity in service to God.
I think we can learn three important lessons about calling and gifting from this verse:
First, your calling and gifting are unique. It is not the same as mine and it is not the same as your pastor’s. God has uniquely equipped you for service where you are right now. Your job is to pursue that gifting in service to the Lord.
Second, when you pursue your gifting, pursue it with unabashed passion. If God has given you a heart for the poor, find as many ways as you can to engage with the poor. If God has given you a passion for generosity, find creative and new ways to give and draw other people into that giving. If God has given you skill in preaching, preach.
Finally, if you are confused as to what your calling or gifting is, quit looking and spend time with God. Trying to figure out what God’s will is for your life, is a fool’s quest. You are either walking with Him or you aren’t. Oswald Chambers once said that the only time someone would ever search for a path in the woods is when they aren’t on it. This is the same with God’s will. If you are walking with God, reading His Word, and obeying it, then you are in God’s will. God’s will for your life is not some big mystery that you are to spend your life uncovering, it is simply that you know Him and follow Him. If you want to know what God’s will is, start obeying His Word. Exercise your gifting in this obedience and don’t try to be someone else.
We are all uniquely gifted by God for His service. Our job is to not be slothful (lazy, hesitant, shrinking) in exercising these gifts. When we aren’t slothful and are passionately intense in service to God, we get to experience the joy of walking with God. Let us not be slothful in our zeal in serving God!!
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