These next couple entries will be a bit—and then a lot, respectively—more subjective than the others for this series. Next week’s Season 4 speech will be understandably more passionate, since after all it was the entire point of creating this series at all. But today, let me begin by couching a non-apology in the form of an apology….
To be up front: This study is the most derivative in the entire series (and therefore, of course, the second-best seller in the series by a long shot, selling nearly twice as many copies as #3, Growing in Character, and only a few hundred short of Growing in Jesus). There’s a lot of good materials out there about discovering your spiritual gifts, and I’ve gleaned and retailored mightily to give you the most useful pieces here.
That said, something lacking from a lot of spiritual-gifts studies is this: Most of them focus on “filling slots” in the church. I’ve sincerely tried to push past that. Your ministry might be within the official auspices of church—but it might not be. (Of course, ideally it’s both/and.) But bottom line: The world that needs reaching out to is far bigger—and far more in need—than the church. And we were never meant to hide our light.
Thus, I’ve been very deliberate in maintaining an outward focus with this study, so that you not only can celebrate what God’s given you with your fellow Christians, but be equipped to know how God’s built you to take His word to the rest of the world—as well as hopefully discover who might just be able to help you do that. (Hint: It’s probably the person with the gifts that make you say, “That’s so not me.” You’re not supposed to do it all by yourself, or in only one way. God’s more creative than that, and that’s why He’s created each of you the way He has.)
In the meantime, here’s a test: Come up with a description of who you are and what you’re about. Here’s the catch: You can’t say what you do. No mention of jobs, hobbies, volunteer work—any kind of accomplishment or activity. So good luck. And go!
So, how’d you do? I thought so.
So let’s have a re-do: If you wanted people to know just one thing about you right now, what would it be? Who are you—really?
It’s important—often life-changing—to discover how God’s made each of us, and what He’s made each of us for. But before we go there, we need to spend time realizing who we already are in Jesus. That’s where Growing in Your Gifts begins. As we come to understand who we are in Jesus more and more, His life can flow more easily from us into everything else we do—even when we’re not self-consciously trying to serve Him or others.
Once we’ve established that, then we can begin focusing on discovering the gifts, talents, and passions God’s given us and how He might want to use them to serve others—whether that’s inside or outside your church walls. After this season, you’ll have a better sense of who God’s created you to be, and why.
Next week: We get to the really good stuff….