On Using Your God-Given Gifts Wisely
“And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4: 11,12)
During the recent recession, many people lost their jobs. Some were let go from positions they’d had for years. Lots of stress, what to do now? How to pay the bills? This happened to quite a few of our patients, and we have surely been praying for them! I was talking with a woman in our office just a few weeks ago. She was one of those affected, having lost a job she’d had for about 25 years. But she told me that she was really trying to see this interruption in her life as part of God’s plan for her, and she was in the process of discerning what will come next. As it turns out, she never really liked her job. She had just stayed because she was afraid to quit—afraid that she wouldn’t be able to support her family if she gave her notice and tried doing something different to make a living. And now, she had no choice. So she has decided to find out what her God-given gifts and talents are, in hopes that she will be happier in her next career move.
How do you go about finding out what your gifts are? Some of the answers to this question are obvious. What do you enjoy doing? What would you like to find out more about? What gives you a feeling of peace and satisfaction? We find greatest satisfaction when our gifts and abilities are used as God intended. And indeed, he did give us all different gifts and skills, so that we may be the diverse, yet unified, body of Christ in the world. So listen to your passions and also to your emotions. Notice what makes you angry, sad, excited, or happy—this can be a sign to you of your God-given purpose. Listen to others! Pay attention to what your friends and acquaintances tell you about what you are good at and what seems to excite you. God can use others to encourage you to find your gifts. And pray. Ask for God to show you what is inside of you and where your talents lie.
Think about going shopping to find just the right gift for someone you love. It’s so wonderful when you see that person delight in that gift! And then think about how disappointing it is if this person obviously doesn’t appreciate that gift that you thought was so special. God must feel this same way when we neglect the special gifts and talents he has bestowed upon us. When we fail to look at a gift’s true value, we not only cheat ourselves, but we cheat God as well. We can either put these abilities aside and pursue something that we think will be better for us (financially, for example), or we can nuture them, thus giving them back to God. This makes for a better world and a better quality of life for ourselves and our families!
God has responsibility for all of our talents. Some people only develop these skills for their own personal gain. We shouldn’t take credit ourselves for what God has instilled in us, because then we fail to be good stewards to God. I heard someone singing the other day, and I complimented her on her beautiful voice. She thanked me, and then said that God had given her that ability to sing so wonderfully, and she intended to use that voice to give back to God, to give joy to others and to spread the good news of God’s love for us all.
And so, as I write this, I am thinking of this woman’s gracious voice. I am thinking of my patient, hoping her discernment is going well. I am thinking of my daughter, who is an art therapy intern now working in pediatric oncology, helping to spread hope to the sick little ones and their families. I am thinking how very blessed I am to be a nurse. And I am thinking of all of you who have found their God-given gifts and are using them (YAY!), and all of you who have yet to figure out the best of what God has given to you. My prayer for you is that you WILL find discover your God-given gifts!
Blessings to you,