Do your job… and let everyone do theirs | creed of jesus

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He never fails. If you have two toys and you give one to each of your two children, they will not like what you gave them and they will want any toy you gave to their sibling. For some reason, we never go over that. We always want what someone else has. I guess that’s one of the reasons God put discontent so high on his list. The tenth commandment, after all, is to want what your neighbor has thinking that if we had just what our neighbor has, then our lives would be full and complete. Why are we so unhappy with what we have?

Mainly because few people understand what we have. Certainly, most of us can itemize our material possessions. We know how much money we have in the bank and we know whether or not we own a property. Yet few of us understand our spiritual gifts, and we certainly don’t know how to best use them. Most of us are not convinced that we have spiritual gifts and do not believe that our gifts, if we have any, can be of use to the kingdom of God.

The Bible is clear on this. We all have a spiritual gift. Jesus, by his Spirit, gives each of his children a gift. Several gifts are listed in the scriptures. Things like teaching and hospitality, stewardship and prophecy, and other attributes and abilities are pointed out as necessary for a fully engaged church. We all have a gift, but as a gift they are difficult to understand. Gifts come naturally to us without much work or effort. Because gifts are not earned, but simply given, we do not understand that they are worthwhile. That’s why we need other people to recognize our gifts. Someone will say, “You’re pretty good at that,” and almost universally we’ll say, “Anyone can do that.” In fact, most people can’t. It is only in the community that our gifts are discovered and best used.

With our gift comes the realization that while we may have a particular gift, we don’t have all the gifts. Nobody does. We are created and gifted in the church to work together. There is an interlocking, a divine interconnection, that occurs when we allow our gifts to be used in the ministry of the church. There is something about the church that uses the gifts of diversity that reveals the glory of God in a way no one else can. It literally takes all of us to make the church work.

Which evokes a well-meaning, but mistaken, common understanding that we have gifts. We assume that if we’re good at something, we don’t need to work on it. We think we should spend all of our time trying to strengthen our weaker gifts. Nothing could be further from the truth. Although we need to strengthen our weaknesses to be competent in certain areas, we do not need to become experts in all areas of our lives. For example, I don’t have the gift of administration. Although I need to have administrative skills, I do not need to know the details of Excel spreadsheets, financial reports and maintenance issues of our church. The church just doesn’t need me in these areas. We have better people in the church to take care of these ministries. No matter how hard I work, I will never be as good as these friends in their gifted areas. I’m better, we’re all better, if I stick to what I’m good at and let others do what they’re good at.

Which brings me to our last point. You don’t have to do everything. Nobody does. Do what you know how to do. Do your work. Do what you are called to do and let others do what they are called to do. Too many pastors try to do all the ministry in their churches. The result is a very tired pastor and a very frustrated church. When pastors don’t let their members use the gifts God has given them, they don’t allow their members to continue to grow in their faith and understanding of who they are in Christ. This lack of commitment on the part of members limits their worship, their discipleship – their whole experience of faith. Pastors were never meant to do everything. They should do their job, live their callings, and let everyone else in the church do the same.

This is a fundamental and important teaching in the church. So, let’s review:

  1. Everyone has a gift to use in the church for the glory of God.
  2. Nobody has all the gifts. The diversity of gifts is a revelation of the glory of God.
  3. Focus on growing your strengths, not building on your weaknesses.
  4. Stay with your gifts and let everyone use their gifts for their pleasure and God’s goodness in the world.

If you know your gift, get busy. If you don’t, join your siblings and find out what it is. The world has been waiting long enough for you to show up.

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