There are no average persons reading this blog. Because every one of us has a gift, a
special talent or ability that God has placed in us. We might say that gift is â€œyour music,â€ and thatâ€™s what I would like to talk about.
The Apostle Paul spoke on a number of occasions about gifts. In 1 Corinthians chapter
12:27-30, Paul likens the church to a body and its members to body parts. He says:
â€œNow you are the body of Christ, and individual members of it. And God has placed
these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, next
miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, managing, various kinds of languages.
Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all do miracles? Do all
have gifts of healing? Do all speak in other languages? Do all interpret?â€
Paul is telling us that in the church there are a variety of gifts. I think he is making the
point that all of us have a unique gift to offer. Is one gift more important than another? Not according to verses 18-20. Hereâ€™s another way of saying it:
â€œGodâ€™s gift to you is more talent and ability than you will ever use in one lifetime.
Your gift to God is to develop and utilize as much of that talent and ability as you can, in this lifetime.â€ (Steve Bow)
Do you know what your gift is? What is that special something that you do really well,
effortlessly. What excites you, and causes your passion to rise? Do you know what it is? Or has your dream died? Has life worn you down? Iâ€™m here to tell you that God placed that gift or special passion in you for a reason.
So, my challenge number one for you, is to:
Get clear about your gift.
If you already know, thatâ€™s great. If not, invest some prayer and thought into
gaining clarity about this. You may want to meet with a trusted friend, or discuss
it with your spouse, or a parent, but I think we were designed to maximize our
Not too many years ago, sports coaches were of a mind that to help their players
succeed, they had to work on their weaknesses and try to improve them. That is no
longer the case. Coaches have learned that their teams perform best when everyone on the team plays to their strength. I think the church functions best when all of us play to our strengths.
And what might those gifts be? Any number of things. For example, here in Ridgeland
Community Church, we have members with the gift of musical performance, of
performing arts, of auto mechanics, of carpentry, of relating to children, of writing notes of encouragement, of organization, of leadership, of cooking, of prayerful intercession, of compassion for the poor and hungry, and we could go on and on.
And that brings us to my challenge number two:
Find a way to use your gift for Godâ€™s glory, either in service to the church or in
service to your fellow man. Paul gives that encouragement in Romans 12: 6-8. In Exodus chapter 35:25, 26, 31-35, there are examples of some of the Israelites doing just
There is always a way.
A. Willow Creek Church had men with the gift of auto mechanics and developed a
car repair ministry for single moms.
B. Someone with a gift of carpentry built our lectern for the church.
C. Those with a gifting of mechanical ability keep our property in tip-top shape.
D. Someone with a gift of compassion continually sends cards and notes of
E. Several someones with a gift for organization led a very successful pastoral
Are you getting the idea? There is always a way for you to use your gifts in service to
others; it may even mean teaching your special gift to someone else and becoming a
mentor to that person.
When we use our gift to serve others, we are letting our music out. If we donâ€™t, we die
with our music still in us. Donâ€™t do that. So, letâ€™s get clear about our gift, and letâ€™s find a way to use that gift in service to others.
And that brings me to challenge number three:
Persist until you succeed. Make a decision that you will overcome any obstacle, solve any challenge, pay any price, until you achieve your goal.
Take a look at the list of books below and notice how many times they were rejected before finally being published:
Auntie Mame, Patrick Dennis (15)
Carrie, Stephen King (30)
Chicken Soup for the Soul, Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (140)
Diary of Anne Frank (16)
Dr. Seuss books (15)
Dubliners, James Joyce (22)
Dune, Frank Herbert (23)
Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell (38)
Harry Potter, book one, J. K. Rowling (9)
Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Richard Bach (18)
Kon-Tiki, Thor Heyerdahl (20)
M*A*S*H, Richard Hooker (17)
The Peter Principle, Laurence Peter (16)
The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot (17)
Watership Down, Richard Adams (26)
A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle, (26)
If Chicken Soup for the Soul was rejected every week, that means it took them nearly
three years to find a publisher who said yes. Do you think they got discouraged? They
pressed on until………..
Calvin Coolidge has not gone down in history as an outstanding president. However, he gave us a truly remarkable quote about persistence:
â€œNothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.â€
Persistence is just a decision you make every day: â€œJust for today, I will press on.â€
So, letâ€™s all get clear about our gifts, find a way to use them in Godâ€™s service, and make a decision to persist until we succeed in doing so. By playing to our strengths, we will be a strong part of the church body, and we will also be reminded daily that we are a part of Godâ€™s advancing army.
A friend of mine expressed this better than I ever could, so I close with his words. This
is from Steve Sabol, and it is worth framing:
I Am A Knight
I am part of an army of Knights.
The die has been cast.
The decision has been made.
I have stepped over the line.
I won’t look back, let up, slow down or back away.
My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, my future is secure.
I’m finished and done with selfish living,
sight walking, small planning, “smooth knees,”
colorless dreams, tamed visions,
mundane talking, cheap giving and dwarfed goals.
I no longer need pre-eminence, prosperity, position,
promotions, applause, pity or popularity.
I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised,
regarded or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on God’s presence,
walk with His patience, live by prayer and labor with His power.
My face is set; my steps are sure; my goal is heaven;
my road is narrow; my way is rough, my companions are few;
my Guide is reliable; my mission is clear.
I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away,
turned back, deluded or delayed.
I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice,
hesitate in the presence of adversity,
negotiate at the table of the enemy,
ponder at the pool of popularity
or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
I won’t give up, shut up, let up, until I have
stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up and spoken up.
I am a Knight.
I must go and fight until my last page is written.
And when God comes for His own, He will have no
problem recognizing me. My banner will be clear.
I will be one of God’s heroes,
because I am part of an army of Knights.”
Knights of the 21st Century