Friday, April 9, 2010
Do You Know Your Gift?
But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. I Corinthians 12:7-11
The one thing in my spiritual walk that has given me the MOST angst is the concept of spiritual gifts.
See - I can hear some of you groaning. Some of you know EXACTLY what I mean.
And churches are pretty quick to try and help you determine what those gifts are before your public profession has even died away. And have you seen all the checklists and "tests" to help you along the way?
It can be relentless.
For some people, the gift is so easy. There is your friend that is a leader of children and KNOWS they belong in a Sunday School class teaching the next generation.
Of others it is an amazing voice to share with the congregation (or other musical talent). They bring joy to our ears and help us focus on God above. (Adrielle!!! I miss you!!)
Some have the gift of giving financially and helping behind the scenes with scholarships and just wherever the need is.
Some have the gift of service -- they work in the church library or the office. Maybe they clean the church -- someone does, you know.
At our last church we were so lucky to have a man that had the gift of cooking. Yes. Cooking. And he put on a church meal for all the workers (and their kids) for AWANA's and youth on Wednesdays. Seems like a small thing yet it was HUGE to our family. We would meet daddy at church (he came straight from work) and have dinner, drop the kids at AWANA and MOTION and then we would meet the others from our small group for a study. Without that meal we could not have pulled off our Wednesdays. Almost a year later I still think of Shen with a grateful heart.
I knew others that were fantastic artists and painted church murals in the kids wings....or did the art for the Vacation Bible school back-drops. (I actually helped build Rome in 2 days! LOL! But I was a grunt...not an artist.)
Some people have a gift of prayer. Their prayers leave you inspired and with your mouth hanging open at the beauty of the words and sincerity of heart. And then there are the ones that open their mouths to pray for you...and God comes out. Spooky and amazing all at the same time. I am slightly jealous of those with this gift as I stumble, stutter and go blank.
I could go on and on - but you get the point. You have friends (and maybe you yourself) that it is so obvious just what that spiritual gift is.
And then there are people like me.
And you wrack your brains trying to figure out what that gift is.
Maybe its centered around a hobby?
I've been an unofficial photographer and even a scrapbooker for a few churches. But that wasn't really a gift. It was just an interest. I'm not even very good at either...I was just enthusiastic. And I have no doubt that I blessed someone with those things....but in the end...I knew it wasn't my "gift".
Well, I LOVE kids. But I don't really like being in a babysitting or a teaching position. I just don't.
And let me tell you....if you are female and have kids but don't know your gift.....you will end up in the nursery or kids wing at some point. That is always such a huge need. So much so that you can easily get pushed into that slot in an attempt to convince you that you belong there. And when you say you really don't like it.....well then a quick counsel on how you should change your way of thinking and God will bless you with liking it. Don't get me started down that road. When you don't want to go to church because you know you are going to get stuck in the nursery.....rest assured that isn't your gift....no matter how much you "change your attitude". No matter how large the need. (That does not mean you should not help out - it just means its not your gift and shouldn't let yourself be led down that road.)
I don't like leading. And this can be confusing sometimes because I love to work...and work HARD. I like to do a GOOD job. I like to please. I like to do it better or as good as the best. But I don't like to lead. I don't want to be the boss or the manager or a leader of any sort. Can't stand being the front man. Don't want to be in charge.
So for close to 10 years in many different churches, I have really struggled with finding my gift. I've prayed. Over and over. I've begged. I've questioned. I've tried many many things hoping this one was it.
And struck out time after time.
(And let me just say once again...just because something is NOT your gift does not mean you can't help out in that area. If the church needs cleaning because the regular broke a bone...clean the church. If nursery is short and they are going to start turning kids away...help in nursery. If your Sunday School teacher is going to be out of town....volunteer to start class and put that video on.)
Luckily, about a year ago a very wise and important to me lady showed me my gift.
You see, I'd helped her out in VBS the year before...just being her right hand man and doing whatever she needed done right now -- putting out fires. And the next year I came in to help build the new VBS sets.
And she looked at me one of those days and said: "You know, I never understood the gift of "helps" until I met you. Now I understand."
And the light bulb went off.
That is truly what I love to do.
I don't want to be the director of VBS. I want to be her assistant that runs around calling parents of the sick kids and staying with them until mom shows. I want to go behind the kids and clean up all the water in the bathroom so nobody falls and busts their head. I want to help turn in the headcounts for snack and the office books. I want to make that run to Hobby Lobby because the crafts are running low on something.
I want to send in meals when I can for those that are sick or have a new baby.
I want to design a new master list or whatever for the teacher to use when the current one isn't working.
I want to do the newsletter for the leader.
I want to help. I'm a "tell me where you want me" kind of girl.
And that one conversation has helped me to focus on that. To recognize it for what it is.....the gift God has given me. One I never would have figured out on my own. Because like my friend...I didn't really understand what a "helps" gift was.
And I can't even begin to tell you the relief it finally is to know this and embrace it. It has brought peace and growth.
So, thank you Joy, for the gift you gave me that day.
God is good.