Monday, August 14, 2006

So Not My Gift

I caught myself saying it again yesterday as I cleaned up the church kitchen after helping to serve snacks during fellowship time following the worship service.

Marveling that somehow the Lord multiplied the loaves and fishes to feed the congregation (with mere crumbs leftover rather than twelve baskets full), I apologized publicly that He would have had to work a miracle to do that. Choosing how much to purchase and prepare for an unknown number of summer congregants is “sooooo not my gift.”

And on top of that, the family of a newborn is counting on me to provide their supper on Wednesday night this week. Me. I can cook. It’s not that. I actually cook pretty well. But I feel so much more comfortable writing a clever little poem for a baby shower than I do providing a meal. I told the deaconess in charge of scheduling meals for situations like this, “I found it funny, considering my crazy life this week. Rather than saying yes, I should have requested meals for ME!”

However, I know better than to look at my areas of giftedness as excuses. I can’t excuse myself from telling others about Christ because I don’t have the “gift” of evangelism. I don’t dare ignore people in need because I don’t have the “gift” of helps, or refuse to be hospitable because I lack the “gift” of hospitality.

God made it clear that by divine decree some of us would be more gifted than others in every significant area of service. But He also made it clear that He wants ALL of us to show hospitality (pathetic as my attempts will be compared to others with “the gift”) and share our faith and teach godly principles and act generously. Those of us for whom any one of those issues is “not our gift” have to try harder and be more intentional than those for whom it flows easily.

I’ve been thinking about that principle in light of writing, since that’s what I do. I don’t have a natural—or supernatural—gift for marketing. That doesn’t mean I’m excused from it. I have to be more intentional and diligent that the one for whom it comes easily. I may have a gift for starting projects, a vivid and overactive idea factory. I need to work on finishing. Starting comes easily to me. Finishing takes effort.

I can’t imagine the Lord excusing me from finishing the projects He birthed just because I don’t have a “gift” for that. What I can picture is His calling in a band of tutors to help me with remedial finishing. And marketing. And synopsis-writing. And accurate record-keeping…

Can you fathom standing before the Lord when He asks why you walked past the homeless family and didn’t reach out your hand to help? “Not my gift, Lord. You know that. I’m into exhortation, remember? Didn’t you hear me tell them they shouldn’t have built their house on the flood plain?”

Or this one: God says, “I pulled some strings for you so you could get your book published. What’s up with refusing to do booksignings?”

“Oh, you know me, Lord. That’s not my gift.”

Let’s try that again.

“Lord, that’s not my gift. I’m going to need Your help, big-time!”

“I thought you’d never ask.”


Pammer said...

I love this. So timely. I was just wondering the other day how I find myself in some situations when I'm obviously not fit for service in the area. Sigh.

I appreciate your insight. Thank you!

Jackie Castle said...

This was a really great message that spoke to my heart. Thanks for posting it.

eileen said...

Ohhhhhhh, so go ahead and just hammer the conviction in. Sheesh, I'm so behind-the-scenes me, and the thought of moving on the front lines makes my jello knees quiver.

So, gulp, I'll be looking for those to hold up my arms and teach me!

Thanks for being one of those.

GeorgianaD said...

Thank you for your insightful post! This totally speaks to me, though I kind of have to cringe because it's so much easier to say "that's not my gift." It gives me pause to think about relying on God to round me out:)