It’s my gift – not yours!
We often find ourselves desiring other people’s gifts for ministry, forgetting that what the Lord has given us is good enough…
I know many of you rolled your eyes when you saw the title of this article, and thought, “How can she have the audacity to make such a statement when it is God who gives gifts?” Yes, it is true that God gives each one of us gifts that we can use for the extension of His kingdom. Many times, however, people want to have gifts that are more glamorous and visible to the public, rather than accept the gifts God has given them.
When I was in college, there were lots of opportunities for ministry. The area in which I found myself, music ministry, was dominated by males, and I felt lonely and uncomfortable at times. A good friend of mine, however, was active in the hospitality ministry, where she got to hang out with other girls. I wanted to be part of that ministry, so one day I tagged along when the team went to cook in the dining hall (mess, as we used to call it then). Let’s just say that was the longest evening of my life. I didn’t fit in, I didn’t enjoy the tasks, and all I wanted to do was go back to my room and read a book. After that, I didn’t complain about hanging out with the ‘boys’ at worship team practice again!
How, then, do we make sure that we are using the right gift – the gift God has given us? Let me share a few tips that have helped me over the years.
God is the gift-giver
1 Peter 4:10 “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” (NLT)
One thing that many of us seem to forget when thinking about spiritual gifts and gifts for service is that our gifts are as unique as we are. Have you ever seen a pastor who preaches exactly like another one, in the same style, with similar mannerisms and an identical sermon structure? It’s not possible, because the two pastors are completely different individuals.
Similarly, there is no way the gift God has given me can match what He has given someone else because each one of us is created uniquely. God is both the creator and the gift-giver, and as such, he is the best person to consult when we have questions about our gifts and calling. He also knows why he gives each person whatever gifts he gives them. The Lord knew why he gifted my pal in the area of cookery and hospitality, and why he gifted me in music.
Every gift has its place in the body of Christ because that is how God intended things to work! Whenever I feel like what I am doing does not seem to be important enough for anyone to notice, I remember that if I don’t exercise my gift, there will be a gap in the body that nobody else would be able to fill.
God is the one who calls us to service
There is a purpose that every one of us has to fulfill while we are on earth. Some are called to be pastors, others are called to be shepherds, and others evangelists. There are still other people who are called to minister within the home, to their children and family members. Who, then, determines what we are meant to do for the body of Christ? God does.
There is another thing that many of us forget when thinking about spiritual gifts – we don’t call ourselves to service, God does. And because He calls us, He is the one who will tell us where to go and serve, to whom, and for how long. Ideally, therefore, there should be no competition about who is supposed to do what, because God orders everything right from His control room.
Back to my story on how I followed my pal to where she was going to minister. Clearly, my reasons were not in line with God’s purposes for me, which is why I did not enjoy the experience. My motives for going were based on personal gratification, rather than ministry, whereas for my pal, it was all about serving God. When I went back to the place where God had called me to minister, however, I was at peace and I enjoyed myself thoroughly.
I need to add something at this point – as we grow in the faith, we notice that the Lord may develop more than one gift within us. As a result, you may note that your season of ministry in one area may come to an end, and God then sends you to another area to use a totally different gift. When this happens, it is very important to remember that He is still the one who calls you to service, and gifts you for the task he sets before you, also giving you the grace to let go of what you have been doing before.
When God calls us to service, He gives us the gifts that we need to do the job. And because every Christian is called to do something in the kingdom, and that is the way He planned it, there is no need for competition.
Diversity is good!
If the rainbow had only one color, instead of the seven that we see – would we ever notice it?
Imagine a scenario where we all had the same gifts, all intended for service in the church. If all of us went to serve as ushers, who would lead worship? If all of us went to the Sunday School, who would preach? If we all led worship, who would serve the visitors with snacks after the service?
Back in the day, when I was still employed, we used to do lots of school musicals. I used to work closely with my senior colleague during these productions. We were both musically talented, but there were a couple of differences in the way we handled the children. For example, she had this knack of being able to see how an entire scene would go from beginning to end based on the little section we would be working on at the time. I, on the other hand, was good at psyching up the children to do their best and remain energized to the end of the production. We had similar, yet different gifts. If we had been blessed with exactly the same gift, the production would have been a mess (and boring, too)!
Diversity in the body of Christ is great. Our different gifts make the experience of working together richer and more fulfilling. We learn from one another, and we give each other the space to grow in ministry. In the end, everything works well, because everyone feels that what they do for Christ is important!
In conclusion, let’s look at these verses from Romans 12.
Romans 12:6-8 “In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.” (NLT)
Now, do you agree that it’s my gift, and not yours? I hope so!
HI, everyone! I hope that you enjoyed this week’s article that gives a different perspective on how we should view our spiritual gifts. Please share this article with someone you think will benefit from the insights shared. Have a blessed week ahead!
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