Discover Your Gifts
Two key principles are at work in what follows:
You are unique
God loves variety and diversity
God has blessed each one of us with a specific and unique set of gifts. So what are your gifts? The purpose of this material is to help you identify them.
The inspiration for the material comes from the ministry of Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in the USA and author of one of this decade’s best selling Christian books, ‘The Purpose Driven Life’. The material also relies on a seminar developed by folks from Seagate Evangelical Church in Troon, in conjunction with John McKinnon, then evangelist with SU Scotland.
We could all, no doubt, spend hours setting out just what’s wrong with the church. Reflection, however, often leads to a realisation that we are all part of it, and that if we want to make it better then perhaps God could use us. It would seem that God has always chosen to carry on his work through ordinary people – imperfect people like even like us. Perhaps the finest and clearest example of this is seen in the choice of diverse characters Jesus called to journey alongside him during his three-year ministry, leaving them with the responsibility of carrying on the significant work that he had begun. Someone skilfully assessed the disciples in the following terms:
To: Jesus, Son of Joseph, Woodcrafter Carpenter Shop, Nazareth 25282
From: Jordan Management Consultants, Jerusalem, 26544.
Thank you for submitting the resumes of the 12 men you’ve picked for management positions in your new organization. All of them have now been given a battery of tests. We’ve not only run the results of these tests through our computer but also arranged personal interviews for each of them with our psychologist and vocational aptitude consultants. The profiles of all the tests are included, and you’ll want to study each one of them carefully. As part of our service and for your guidance, we make some general comments, much as an auditor will include some general statements. This is given as a result of staff consultation and comes without any additional charge.
It is the staff’s opinion that most of your nominees are lacking in background, education and vocational aptitude for the type of enterprise you are undertaking. They do not have the team concept. We would recommend that you continue your search for persons of experience in managerial ability and proven capability.
Simon Peter is emotionally unstable and given to fits of temper. Andrew has absolutely no qualifications of leadership. The two brothers, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, place personal interest above company loyalty. And Thomas demonstrates a questioning attitude that could tend to undermine morale. We also feel that it’s our duty to tell you that Matthew has been blacklisted by the Greater Jerusalem Better Business Bureau. James, son of Alpheaus, and Thaddaeus definitely have radical leanings, and both registered a high score on the manic-depressive scale.
One of the candidates, however, shows great potential. He’s a man of ability and resourcefulness. He meets people well, has a keen business mind and has contacts in high places. He is highly motivated, ambitious and responsible. And so we are pleased to recommend Judas Iscariot as your controller and right-hand man. All the other profiles are self-explanatory. We wish you every success in your new venture.
Signed Jordan Management Consultants.
The principle seems simple then – God takes ordinary people to address an extra-ordinary task. He takes folks from all walks of life, at all stages in life, with different gifts and abilities, strengths and weaknesses, and somehow blends them together into something as wonderfully complex and finely tuned as a human body (see 1 Corinthians chapter 12).
The problem that most of us face however, is that we’re not quite sure how we fit in and what we might be called to do to contribute to this world changing community called the Church! We’re not quite sure how we are gifted or shaped and therefore drift along hoping that someone might ask us to do something. Facing up to how God has made us is not something we readily warm to, let along talk about with someone else. And yet, week by week, across the length and breadth of our country thousands of people pay good money to have someone assess how they’ve been made!
There seems to be a motivational dimension to this journey and it comes about as individuals grow in their self-awareness and as others encourage them on. Why not complete this and discover the unique and distinctive part that God is calling you to in his body, the Church.
“You are not an accident.
Even at the moment of your conception,
out of many possibilities, only certain cells combined,
survived, grew to be you.
You are unique.
You were created for a purpose.
God loves you.”
Author and preacher Max Lucado, developing this same theme affirmed:
“there are things only you can do,
and you are alive to do them.
In the great orchestra we call life,
you have an instrument and a song,
and you owe it to God
to play them both sublimely”.
Psalm 139 vs 13 – 16 reads:
For you Lord created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
God, in creating us, does so celebrating our uniqueness. Need further evidence? Genesis 1 : 20 – 26:
And God said, “Let the waters swarm with fish and other life. Let the skies be filled with birds of every kind.” So God created great sea creatures and every sort of fish and every kind of bird. And God saw that it was good. Then God blessed them, saying, “Let the fish multiply and fill the oceans. Let the birds increase and fill the earth.” This all happened on the fifth day.
And God said, “Let the earth bring forth every kind of animal—livestock, small animals, and wildlife.” And so it was. God made all sorts of wild animals, livestock, and small animals, each able to reproduce more of its own kind. And God saw that it was good.
Then God said, “Let us make peoplein our image, to be like ourselves. They will be masters over all life—the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the livestock, wild animals,and small animals.”
God, we see, is incredibly creative and loves variety. Look around. See anyone the same as you?
Different colouring: hair - quantity and colour, skin – subtle differences.
Different tastes: clothing, cars, food, football teams.
Different appearance: height, weight and SHAPE!!
Such uniqueness and diversity is clear in Physical terms – through this exercise you will, we hope, discover it in Spiritual terms.
Let’s embark on an exciting journey of discovery – the discovery of your SHAPE from God’s perspective!