We've all heard it said that imitation is the best form of flattery. So, why does that green-eyed monster pop up in us when someone takes what we've done, and repeats it, shares it, or perhaps even does it better than we do? At our church a person has the opportunity to learn his/her spiritual gifts and personality through a night of fun assessments. It only takes about an hour, and you come out knowing your personality type, and the areas in which the Lord has chosen to gift you, supernaturally. So, your personality is how you ARE - what makes you tick, how you function on a day to day basis, and how you interact with other people, based on what comes naturally to you. Your spiritual gifts are not your personality. They are gifts - something that has been given to you because God wants to use you to reach others. Others will look at you and wonder how you are able to do what you are doing, if they don't possess the same gift. This is God working through you. It is not about your ability. It is about His.
I recently sat through this class at church for about the fourth time. One of my daughters was on her third time through, and I just listened. I loved it! I get excited when I think about people finding out what they were created to do! This morning the Lord whispered something precious and profound. "Expect everything you give in ministry to be taken." At first I was like, "Who is this for, Lord? It's not like I am 'in ministry' anymore. Who? For whom are you giving this to me? Alice?" He replied, "You." I may have said this before, but the Lord and I have this deal, that whatever He sees me through, I will share with others if it can help. I was confused at first.
Friends, the last few years have been hard for me. I have been the needy friend. I have needed and relied on the prayers of my sweet friends to get me through some seriously rough and dry personal times in my walk. What has happened is that my faith has grown tremendously, and in a different way than it has ever been strengthened before. I'm still not experiencing a victory in places that I am longing for it, though. It's sort of like an athlete training, getting stronger, and having all this expectation for something big, and being ready for the big event, but something is keeping her from knowing the date of the competition. In the disappointment of waiting, she finds herself slipping up on the easy things. Things she's already conquered, and then the questions start. "What has happened to me? Where is my focus? Why am I slipping up on THAT? Why did I think I was ready for this? I am a disappointment." I know the real reason is that God has His own timing, and it is NEVER on my timeline! I know this, but many times I lose sight of this. Sometimes, the Lord wants to use us more in the journey through our difficulties than in the destination.
So, what are your spiritual gifts? Think about them. Thank Jesus for them right now. No, seriously, stop reading and thank Him - for each one.
Thank you Jesus, for the gift of prophecy. Help me to continue to find ways to share your truth, in love. Thank you for the gift of exhortation. I mean, I LOVE to use this gift. I enjoy the opportunities you give me. Thank you for mercy, Lord. I understand how much mercy you have given to me, and I love extending this to others. May they see you in all these gifts, and not ever me.
Whatever gifts you have, they come easily to you. Using them is not hard. You will actually enjoy it tremendously!
Now, we all have a ministry. Where has He called you? Where do you work? Who are your neighbors? What are your hobbies? Where are you sitting waiting on your kids to get finished? Who do you keep walking past at church? None of these places or people are accidents in your life. It is your ministry. Use your gifts. Reach out to these people. That prayer you've been praying, someone you come in contact with at these places may have the answer. Here's the warning, remember, this was for me. I'm just sharing it because someone might learn. My gift is not MINE. It is HIS! He chooses to use me as a vessel. If I start to think of it as my gift, I will lose the joy that comes from the initial intent of the gifting.
Let me drive this home. I'm a teacher. Many of you are in one area or another. Before the days of Pinterest, we had to dig and pray, and work tirelessly on the perfect lesson plan for our unit. Lots of blood, sweat, and tears went into that perfect plan - especially on administrative observation day. I have met teachers who would rather die than share anything with me. Then there are those teachers who poured into my life and my soul, because they shared their ideas, allowed me to use them, and encouraged me as I created my own. The love and admiration I feel for these people is immeasurable! Christy Nockels, my favorite, once shared something with me. She said, "When the Lord puts someone in my life to mentor, I know I am supposed to pour everything He has given me into her, and pray that He will bless her with even more ability than I have known." That, my friends is ministry. We should expect everything we have to give to be taken from us, improved upon, and shared with the next person all in order to spread the love and the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
"My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Phillipians 4:19