As a high school and college student, my life revolved around band. As a member of the marching band first at Ankeny High School and then at Arizona State University, I essentially lived with my fellow band mates. We practiced two hours a day, attended every home football game, and travelled together to compete.
As a musician, I never attended a football game in high school or college with the expectation that I should really be on the field playing football. I wasn’t a football player. If I had suited up, I would have been killed. There was never any confusion or sense of guilt. I knew my gift as a musician, and I played my part in complete harmony with how God had created me.
When I entered adult life and became very involved in church life, I didn’t have the same single focus. Something was different. I would attend a service or listen to a sermon and I would come away with a great sense of obligation–was I doing enough? Most Sundays, I listened to the message from the sound booth where I served as part of the tech team. Yet, while sitting at the sound board, I would have this sense that I wasn’t doing my part. Stop and re-read that sentence.
Why is it that when it comes to some areas of life, we know how God wired us, and we have a strong passion to serve in the area He has called us to, yet at other times we feel guilty because we are not doing more?
Church life has a way of obscuring a true biblical understanding of spiritual gifts. As a volunteer organization, churches live and breath on volunteers. From the greeters at the door to the musicians to the nursery care folks, every aspect of a church’s ministry depends of volunteers.
Sometimes, in an effort to fill the ranks and keep the ministry operating, people are placed in areas of service where they are not gifted and where they do not have a passion.
You probably won’t see it (or hear it) coming from the praise band, but you will see it when you recognize a person greeting who is an introvert, or an usher who likes to visit with his friends rather than help someone find a seat, or a children’s teacher who doesn’t like kids.
How do these folks get into the wrong places of service? Sometimes they volunteer, but many times they are recruited, and not fully appreciating their unique giftedness, they agree to serve in an area that is 180-degrees opposite of who they are and how they are wired.
Maybe you’re one of those people? I know I’ve been there. I’ve found myself in an area of service because I was willing to help, had a desire to serve, and didn’t fully appreciate my gifts. Suddenly, I found myself struggling to succeed. It has nothing to do with hard work, determination, or skill. It has everything to do with how God has wired us.
In the Bible’s primary teaching on spiritual gifts, the Apostle Paul tells us,
14For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. 21The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together (1 Corinthians 12:14–26).
As a believer, you can be assured that God has gifted you for service. You can also be assured that God would not have gifted you without providing a place of service. It may not be within the four walls of the church building, but just the same, there is a place for you to employ and enjoy your gifts.
To learn more about the topic of spiritual gifts and to find your place within the Body of Christ, First Family Church developed a course called Wired. Led by Tim Coleman, this class walks you through a discovery process of learning about your gifts and finding your unique set of passions and skills. As part of the class, you will participate in a one-on-one coaching session to help you put your gifts into action in an area of meaningful service. Wired is offered in both a classroom setting or online. You can learn more by visiting www.firstfamilyministries.com/wired.
Your investment in discovering your spiritual gifts will pay lifetime dividends. Nothing tops finding your place of service and then serving well.
In the film Chariots of Fire, Olympic runner Eric Liddell is quoted as saying, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.”
You, too, can feel God’s pleasure when you discover your unique giftedness, and then serve Him with all your heart, soul and mind.–Chris Eller