During the months of January and February, I’m teaching a workshop at my church about finding your service passion. After we spend a few sessions defining our service passion, we will be creating vision boards to help us focus our efforts on the right areas to support our service. This blog will provide brief summaries of the previous classes in order to help people stay up to date if they can’t attend or have missed a session.
Last week’s post: Finding Your Passion for Service
Let’s look at a passage often used when exploring Christian gifts, I Corinthians 12:1-11:
1Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 3Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
4There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
7Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
There is one Spirit but many gifts.
We have a tendency to look at what someone else is doing and evaluate our own service by their standard. That’s not fair to us or the other person. We have one Spirit who provides different gifts to different people. If we try to serve in an area where we aren’t gifted, we might not reap the rewards of our service and neither will the people we’re trying to serve.
Many years ago, I learned that my gift is not teaching the children’s Bible classes. How? By agreeing to teach a class for the summer. Yes, I’m a teacher and love teaching…adults or young adults. I don’t have the talents necessary to keep a group of kids focused on a lesson in a fun way. This doesn’t mean I’m not good with kids. I’m good with kids on a small level. I just don’t fit when it comes to a long-term commitment to teaching them. I know this, and even though the pleas for Sunday School teachers move my Christian heart, I know it’s not where I’m meant to serve. It’s not my gift.
This doesn’t mean we don’t have gifts we haven’t used. Someone else might see them in you before you do. In the sixth grade, a friend of mine told me I was a leader. I stared at her like she had three eyes and horns. Me? A leader? I wasn’t even popular. Yet, in my adult life, I’ve discovered the truth to her statement. I love to lead!
The Bible is filled with people who didn’t believe they could do what God asked them to do. Moses didn’t believe he could speak for the Israelites. Sarah did not believe she’d have the child God promised Abraham. Jonah did not believe he could deliver God’s message to Ninevah. Yet, God knew what they could do and refused to let them turn away from their destinies.
How do you discover your gifts?
Awareness of your gifts comes from answering some tough questions. I asked the participants on Wednesday night to take ten minutes and write their answers to the following questions. I suggest you do it, too, especially if you’re planning to attend this class. Even if you’re not, these questions can lead you down the path of discovering potential areas of service.
- What are you good at? (Don’t stick to “God” topics here. All interests and hobbies are useful.)
- What do people who know you well say you’re good at?
- What skills/areas/topics do you have a great deal of knowledge or experience in?
- What would you do with any additional time if you found a way to give it to yourself? (Think outside the box. Do not limit yourself here.)
- What are the top three obstacles preventing you from focusing on any of the items you’ve listed in questions 1-4?
- What are the top three things you think you must do in order to focus on them?
Don’t worry if you find these questions difficult to answer. They often are.
After everyone wrote their answers, we split up into groups of two or three to discuss what they learned, realized, or felt as they considered these questions.
A great way to dig deeper is to ask a spouse, child, best friend, or co-worker how they would answer these questions about you. I recommend asking at least two people, especially if one is your spouse (spouses tend to use rose-colored glasses or a magnifying glass).
As you explore these questions, look for areas of service you haven’t considered yet. It might be at work, or home, or with a neighbor, or as part of a club.
I pray these questions help you begin to open your eyes to the potential you have for service.