Why this gift……?
March 9, 2016 Leave a comment
They say we are each gifted with talents, gifts that may or may not be evident during certain times in our life. While these incredible capabilities we possess are never far away, there are those moments when they it seem just out of reach. Some people are incredible musicians, gifted artists, captivating authors, or compassionate givers. My gift is not yours and your gift is something that I would most likely fail at miserably. Regardless, each has been gifted by the Creator to be more than mere consumers during our time on Earth. We were created to shine, we were born to live, and we are responsible for using that gifting to bless, inspire, and encourage our world.
I know that I have been blessed to be able to communicate through my writing. Not that I am a great author, New York Times best-selling author, or even a published writer. Rather, I have been told by several people within my circle of friends that they believe it to be a gift. But, what happens when that ‘gift’ seems to be the hardest thing to come to terms with? Why does it have to be THAT talent? I wanted to be able to do something DIFFERENT……. Let me direct your attention for a moment to a story in the Bible, concerning Paul the Apostle, in 2 Corinthians 10:1-11 (NLT).
- Paul Defends His Authority
- 1 Now I, Paul, appeal to you with the gentleness and kindness of Christ—though I realize you think I am timid in person and bold only when I write from far away.
- 2 Well, I am begging you now so that when I come I won’t have to be bold with those who think we act from human motives.
- 3 We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do.
- 4 We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.
- 5 We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.
- 6 And after you have become fully obedient, we will punish everyone who remains disobedient.
- 7 Look at the obvious facts. Those who say they belong to Christ must recognize that we belong to Christ as much as they do.
- 8 I may seem to be boasting too much about the authority given to us by the Lord. But our authority builds you up; it doesn’t tear you down. So I will not be ashamed of using my authority.
- 9 I’m not trying to frighten you by my letters.
- 10 For some say, “Paul’s letters are demanding and forceful, but in person he is weak, and his speeches are worthless!”
- 11 Those people should realize that our actions when we arrive in person will be as forceful as what we say in our letters from far away.
In this letter that Paul was writing to a group of people in Corinth, a church that he helped establish, addresses those who had concerns about his authority to speak over them concerning Christ and the Church. I do not want to get to in-depth about whether or not he the authority, but I want to bring to your consideration the following observation. Here you have a man that started out as a leader in the quest to destroy any persons claiming to be followers of Christ. While he never met Jesus during his 3.5 years of ministry, he was a very astute man who was highly educated in the teaching of the Jewish religious elite. These early Christ followers were a disgrace to the religious elite. How could they claim Jesus as the Messiah or worship someone other than the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob? So, he did his best to destroy this uprising and to do away with this strange group of people by any means necessary. But, along the way to his next round-up of Christians in a city called Damascus, he had encounter with God and it changed his life forever.
Fast forward to the scripture quoted above. People are questioning his speaking, they are doubting his oratory abilities and comparing them to other greater speakers and teachers of the time. Apollos was one of these great speakers and some considered him to be greater than Paul, simply because he could sway an audience in a manner that Paul could not. Gifts, Talents, Abilities, Strengths, Weaknesses. Everyone in life, you, me, the woman next door, or the man in Starbucks, has that thing they are great at AND that one thing they struggle with on a daily basis. Hello…. you are not alone in this dilemma.
What does this story of Paul have to do with me? How can a man who lived 2000+ years ago possibly have relevance in 2016?
We all have dreams about who we wanted to be when we grow up. Many of us have fallen into the mundane task we call life, Eat, Sleep, Work & Repeat. It has become comfortable, if not extremely boring and predictable, but then find ourselves empty and longing for something different, something challenging, something that pushes our boundaries farther than we can imagine. If you are like me, you look at those around you and think, why can’t I do that? I want to build custom furniture, I want to drive a race car, I want to be a artist, I want to be a teacher, I want, I want, I want…. until we realize that we could spend the rest of our life in pursuit of this dream and never make it and we give up thinking we have no use, no gift, and no talent. This is where the story behind the story of Paul we read about earlier comes in to play. What if Paul concentrated his time and energy trying to be like Apollos? He could have tried his entire life to learn to speak to crowds the way Apollos could and ultimately gone down as just another unknown in the annuls of history. But, what would the Church, the world have missed out on? Not much, just nearly 3/4 of what the christian church considers to be the New Testament Canon. Paul could have spent his life in pursuit of a talent he did not possess, and miss out what the very thing he was destined to do and be in life. Writing was the gift that Paul was blessed to be gifted with and if you have ever studied or even casually read the Bible, you can tell that he was great at what he did. He may have thought, why writing…why can’t I speak as well as Apollos? Why THIS gift….?
Your life is your gift to the world. Whether you are a talented artist, musician, speaker, writer…… or you have a back story that someone needs to hear to know they aren’t alone in their struggle. You may not be able to speak in front of a crowd, but you have a gift for listening to people who just need someone to take the time to hear what they are dealing with. You may not have the resources to travel to a 3rd world country to help them out, but you have the ability to invite the elderly woman or the single mother with 2 babies over for a dinner when they don’t know where their next meal is coming from. If you grew up in a pastor’s home, as I did, you naturally wanted to follow in your fathers foot steps and be like he was. Or worse, you grew up in the awe-inspiring shadow of a man who had super-hero status and you quickly learned you could never get out from under that shadow so you gave up completely, thinking you were a failure. But, as I am typing this, I am still fighting my own demons to understand how to put this into practice in my life. With all sincerity, I want you to know that YOU have a talent that the world needs to see. Whether that world consists of 1 million people or 1 person, you have been gifted to bless, encourage, uplift and help someone in someway.
We spend our lives trying to live up to the photo-shopped, cropped and edited highlight reel we see other people post to social media and end up feeling useless.
Stop reaching for what you weren’t meant to be at the cost of missing out on what you were Destined to be.
Stop asking Why this gift? And start using the talents you were born to share……