I’m big on sharing our gifts with other people. I don’t think it’s an idea born of arrogance– it’s the way personalities and strengths were spread out by design. If and since we need each other, we can’t get stuck thinking we’re all alone. If “no one is helping me,” I can at least get out of my rut in knowing that someone else needs me.
But I find most people off on tangents all around this simple circle. If everyone shares with others the gift they have, everyone is enriched and encouraged and spurred on. People get off the point when:
(1)They don’t see themselves as part of the Body of Christ. Yes, you may be a mother and your ministry is first to your family, but you are also an elbow in the body. Those nudges you feel to reach out beyond yourself are probably just your elbow-ness testifying that the Body needs the elbow to move right now. Without this as a priority in your life with time and resources, you will sense an emptiness. This was a huge revelation to me which I scratched out in my list of priorities that I hung in a place that I see every day.
(2)They assume they have no talent–or they assume that since other people have overlooked them, they have no talent. That’s the point, however! They won’t know until you begin to give! Each person must individually decide in himself to GIVE of himself to others. (“Here, let me help. Has anyone ever showed you? Hey, let me see if this will help. Hey, have you tried it this way.”) By waiting for others to affirm you or invite you, you will never learn. The day you are asked, you will not be ready. In fact, you won’t be asked until you have proven through your volunteering that you are reliable. It is life’s natural apprenticeship. It is the practice before the game.
I remember playing songs for my friends for YEARS…and I would tell them not to look at me. I could barely get myself to do it. But I couldn’t deny the fact that I had just written a song. And what was I going to do with it…(except play it for my best friends?)
(3) They assume their talent is the only one. In using their gift, they are simply imposing their strengths on others, lording it over them, blindly trying to get others to become like them. Naturally, they are fulfilling the design of creation in wanting to “strengthen others” in that area of life, but they encircle them with manipulations which feed their ego, to create their own circle in which they are king. Desperate for an identity that is secure and unchanging, they find their identity in their gift/strength. They are really feeding their own identity by getting others to believe that this gift is the measure of worth in life. If others don’t “buy in,” their self-wroth is at risk because they are banking on the wrong thing. Their manipulations become desperate then to maintain the circle. They are trying to get everyone to become like them. And people fall for that stuff!
(4) They know they have a talent, but they think it’s too much effort to offer it to others. They have never caught a vision of just how fascinating it is that they have a talent that others need. Other people are WOWed by them, but they’re so tired from their 40 hour work week or their 40 years of work before retirement, that they just want a BREAK. They are missing out on the huge blessing of seeing someone else’s lights come on in admiration and thankfulness. It’s truly a blessing to bless someone. It affirms to the core that who you are is good (god-created), that your talents are God-given.
(5) They have identified their gift as too small or specific and feel only able to give it in a small or specific situation. But this can turn a gift into a curse! In this state, they feel unused, unloved, unusable. But the prism of God’s abundant glory which is found in his grace is always looking for any vessel to beam out of. To be technical, by the indwelling Spirit of God in Christ, I believe we all have all gifts, even if only a few seem to flow through us dominantly due to our exposure, experience, temperament, upbringing, etc.
(6)They have never asked God for the wisdom to know what a particular gift is for. I am quite familiar with this one. The scripture has several lists of different manifestations of God’s glory through what believers give from God to one another. In my own family I have had many moments of “Lord, what is this for? What is its purpose? How does this strengthen or support others or is it just for me? Why did Zach know in advance he was going to meet Bob Jones today? Why are you giving us the discernment of spirits right now? As we ask grow, those questions have become less frequent.
Giving to someone else is an act of grace–something they can’t earn. And when you let your gift simply be what it is, a gift, then everyone wins.
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10
It’s a free gift to others JUST TO BE AROUND YOU.
Because no one is like you.
I see that. I’ve lived that. I believe that. And how much more if you freely offer the thoughts in your mind, the trick of your hands, the strength of your muscles, the math in your brain, the couch in your living room.
Use whatever gift you have to build your friends and family up. Then your neighbors. From there your confidence will grow. And who you are will fully bloom.
THEN, you might find the resounding, “Yeah, they are really good at that.”