Are you so over running from one thing to the next and wondering what’s the purpose? Hear me now: You don’t have to do everything! Read on to learn how to use your spiritual gifts and let others do the same!
I’ve been thinking about my purpose a lot lately, which is probably the result of the free time I’ve had since my kids started school. I can’t help but wonder how I should use my time.
What activities should I pursue?
Because there are plenty to choose from, you know?
When I first moved to Kenya, my supervisor told me not to say “yes” to any requests for ministry involvement at first but to dip my toe in here and there until I felt I’d found the place God wanted to put me. He warned me that there would always be opportunity, but not every opportunity was meant for me.
The same is true here in small-town Mississippi, and if I’m not careful, I can be busy all day without fulfilling the purpose God has for this time in my life.
I might miss it.
Has that ever happened to you?
Busy does not equal fulfilled.
Maybe you’re so involved in your church or your kids’ school that you have something to do every single day, but your heart just isn’t always in it?
Perhaps there’s something you’d really like to be involved in, but you’re already committed to so many other activities that you can’t possibly find time to follow the tug on your heart that says, “This!”
Maybe your blog is all over the place (much like this one) because you can’t seem to settle on a certain something or your editorial calendar is overbooked because you agreed to be part of one too many launch teams.
Been there, done that and have the exhaustion to prove it.Busy does not equal fulfilled.Click To Tweet
So how can we focus in on following God’s call on our lives? How can we limit the noise so we can hear his voice?
How to Use Your Spiritual Gifts
First, I think we have to remember something I read in Romans today. Look what Paul wrote in chapter 12, verses 3-8:
“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if is is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”
This passage contains so much wisdom for us as we seek to fulfill the purpose God has given us. Let’s look at it bit by bit to see what we can learn.
Paul starts by saying, “Don’t think too much of yourself.”
Why? I think it’s because he knew that we often look at a need in the church (or the world) and say, “I can do that!” Then we see another and think, “I can do that, too!” And we volunteer for everything.
Look at your to-do list and see if I’m right.
- Cupcakes for the class party? Check.
- Snacks for the soccer game? On the grocery list.
- Planning the kids’ Sunday School Christmas party? Sure.
- Chaperoning the field trip? Why not?
The list goes on and on, full of good things you and I can do well.
The Problem is Pride
We’re sure of it. In fact, I can plan a killer kids’ party. I can run a ministry as well. Bake the biggest and best cookies for sweet day? Absolutely.
I know I can do all of those things, but…
Y’all, I cannot do them all at the same time.
You know it, and I know it. Only PRIDE suggests otherwise.We can't do it all. You know it. I know it. Only Pride suggests otherwise.Click To Tweet
So I think maybe that’s what Paul was warning us about because he went on to say that we all have different gifts, and we should use them.
You use your spiritual gifts, and I’ll use mine. He never suggested any one of us should use them all.
Use Your Spiritual Gifts Well
And, here’s the thing: when we are so busy doing so many things, it’s really difficult to do any of them well.
Paul said, “If it is teaching, teach diligently.”
I can tell you from my teaching days that can be difficult to do. At one school, I taught at least five different classes and was in charge of the school newspaper and the yearbook, as well as the website.
I was stretched thin, and my classes suffered.
The same was true in our homeschool. There were days I was so busy doing so many things that my kids didn’t receive the attention they needed and deserved.
Because I can’t do it all.
Neither can you.
What should we be doing?
So how can we decide which things we should actually be doing?
First, we have to take a tip from Paul and consider our gifts. What has God created you to do? What talents has he given you? What passions stir your heart?
Wednesday nights at my church are so much fun for kids. They start with a large group time with loud music and fun games then break up into smaller groups for Bible study and recreation.
To an outsider it looks like chaos and sounds like the proverbial herd of elephants.
I stay far away from it. My blood pressure rises in the few minutes I spend there dropping my kids off and picking them up.
It is NOT my thing.
But it’s a good thing, and there are many committed and gifted members of our church who do it!
The Beauty of The Body
Because that’s how the body works. One part does one thing while another does something else.
The result is that everything gets done.
Hallelujah! That means I don’t have to serve in places I’m not gifted for. God has gifted someone else.
Let them do it!
Do you know what might be happening when we step into roles God doesn’t intend for us? Besides the fact that we get tired, worn out, and burned out, we rob someone else of the joy of using the gifts God has given them.
We take the place He meant for them.
Yes, we can do the thing, but humility admits they can probably do it better. Why? Because their gifts and their hearts are designed for it.
One of the greatest joys of discipleship is seeing people grow into their gifts, watching them start to be who God has created them to be.
Maybe the fact we see a need doesn’t always mean we should fill it; perhaps it means we should encourage someone else to.
Learn to Say “No”
But what about others’ expectations?
Let’s be honest here. What others think of us does matter to us. We worry what they’ll think when we say, “No.”
Y’all, we have got to let that go.
There is only one voice we have to follow. It’s the one that says, “This is the way; walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21)There is only one voice we have to follow. It's the one that says, 'This is the way; walk in it.' Click To Tweet
But we have to be able to hear it. That’s why finding our purpose is only possible when we seek the one who created us.
When we don’t run to him, we tend to run ragged.When we don't run to Christ, we tend to run ragged.Click To Tweet
Stop and Be Still
It’s counter-intuitive sometimes to think that by being still we will be more productive, but time spent with the Lord is never wasted. Think of Mary and Martha and remember which sister chose wisely.
The one who chose rest.Time with the Lord is never wasted. Think of Mary and Martha and remember who chose best....the one who chose rest.Click To Tweet
When my kids were homeschooling, they started each day by coming to me to receive their assignments. I was in charge. They didn’t know what they should do unless I told them so they came to me for direction.
We have to be like children and go the Father for the same reason.
Use Your Spiritual Gifts
Finally, we have to have faith and not be afraid.
In the words of Nike, we have to “just do it.”
You see, the body won’t function well if we don’t. Your part is just as important as anyone else’s. No matter which part it is.
Paul put it this way:
“If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.” (1 Corinthians 12:17-18)
That includes you. He has a place and a purpose meant just for you.
- The Power of Remembering Your Purpose
- What Should the Church Look Like? 7 Characteristics of the Body of Christ
- What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do – The Secret to Decision Making
I’d love to hear from you about how you decide what to do and how to use your spiritual gifts. What tips would you offer to others?