“It does not glorify God for us to acknowledge the spiritual gifts that He has given us, and even be thankful for them – but then never use them.” Tracie Miles
This quote struck me today as I was reading an article Tracie wrote. I was challenged as I thought about how I use the gifts God has given me on a regular basis. I tend to agree with Tracie that it can be much easier to say “thank you” for the gifts God gives us than it is to use them.
Earlier this week we talked about motives in this blog. Today we are looking at our gifts. First of all I wonder how many of us know our gifts. And if we do know our gifts, I wonder how often we use our gifts for selfish gain. For me, it can be a struggle to always point to Jesus. I love to write and speak and encourage women and at times I can be motivated by receiving a pat on the back or a “Way to go!” rather than being motivated by women truly discovering their true identity in Jesus.
Other times, I am aware of this temptation, so I shy away from using the gifts God has granted me altogether.
But for the longest time I didn't use my gifts out of fear. After graduating with a teaching degree and failing miserably at teaching math to eighth graders in Texas, I spent a year (2003-2004) at the Kanakuk Institute. And it was during my time at KI that God began to place in me the desire to use the teaching gifts He had given me to teach women His Word. That was seven years ago, and I didn't tell a sole. I was so scared of failing that I didn't want anyone to know that I could teach or that I wanted to teach. I still taught small groups of women, but did very few large group teachings.
But something happened in 2007 that allowed me to get past my fear and step out in faith and attend my first speaking conference. I learned so much, and began slowly pursuing direction from the Lord as to how I could put the skills I acquired at this conference to use for HIS glory. Life flew by and a year later, I really hadn't accomplished much in the tangible sense of speaking and teaching. But as I began to get past my own fear of what others would think and began living in obedience to the Lord, He began finding me places to use the gifts He gave me. I didn't just surrender my gifts to Him, I actively sought out places to use my gifts.
There are days I am still so intimidated by the call God has placed on my life, that I want to hide and give up, but on those days I cling to these verses from I Peter 4:10-11.
10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
These verses remind me not only to use my gifts, but they also keep my motives in check as to who I am drawing attention to when I use them.
I'd love to hear from you today…what is one gift that God has given you and how are you using that gift to bring glory to the Lord? Some of you may be resistant to respond not wanting to brag or draw attention to yourself, but I encourage you to share because it will be fun to see how the body of Christ works together and how God can use all of our gifts to further His kingdom!