Something that I have been struggling with is understanding my purpose and my calling, as well as how to use the gifts that I have been given to further the kingdom of God. Lately, Matthew 25:23 and 29 have been on my mind and heart a lot. It has also been brought up a few times recently through other people. In the parable of the talents, the master gives his servants each a specific amount of money. It was not necessarily a large sum. He had asked them to take care of his money for him while he was gone. The first two servants took the money they were given and they invested it, so that when their master returned, they had an even larger sum to give back to him. The third servant simply took his amount and buried it in a field because he was afraid of how his master would react if he did anything else with it. The master was far more pleased with the first two than the third. To them he said, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibities. Let’s celebrate together!” (Matthew 25:23 NLT) Later on, in verse 29, he says, “To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.”
Growing up, I really had a hard time with sermons about talents and gifts. I never felt good at anything. I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. Talking about using your gifts for the kingdom really stressed me out and made me feel awful about myself because, in my mind, I had nothing to offer. I felt useless.
At this point, I have a fairly strong grasp on my giftings and strengths. Yet, even now, I struggle with this. When people find out that I go to a leadership college/ministry school, usually their first question is, “What area of ministry do you feel called to?” To be honest, I’m not completely sure. I watch everyone around me and all of them are here for a specific area of ministry, whether it’s pastoral, children’s or youth ministry, worship… They all know their calling. I don’t feel called to preach, I can’t sing, and I’m not the best with kids. I never had that “summer camp” moment where I had a specific calling placed on my life. Here is what I have learned though, sometimes our callings aren’t huge. They don’t have to look like everyone else’s. Our gifts can be the same way. My gifts are often small scale and more “behind the scenes.” Just because I don’t speak or sing doesn’t mean that I can’t use the gifts God has given to me for His kingdom. My spiritual gifts are Discernment (“The divine strength to clearly recognize and distinguish between the spiritual influences and motivations at work in a situation.”), Exhortation (“The divine strength or ability to encourage others through the written or spoken word and biblical truth.”), Shepherd (“The divine strength or ability to care for the personal needs of others by nurturing and mending life issues.”), Prophecy (“The divine strength or ability to boldly speak and bring clarity to Scriptural and doctrinal truth, in some cases Fortelling God’s plan.”), and Mercy (“The divine strength or ability to feel empathy and to care for those who are hurting in anyway.”)* All of these gifts are ones that I operate in on a daily basis. Some more than others, and sometimes, I’m not even aware of when it is happening. For instance, I use Exhortation a lot more than I realize. I know this because I often have people tell me that God used me to speak to them and encourage them. Most of the time, I don’t even know what they are referring to. I do know that gifts combined with the power of the Holy Spirit are so much more powerful. Not to mention the fact that when gifts are used in the Holy Spirit, then He will work through the Holy Spirit. So then, it is not through us, but through the power of the Spirit.
My gifts ARE important and God IS using them. When I get discouraged and start feeling like I don’t have enough to give, God reminds me that I have to be faithful with a little so that He can put me over much. Not only that, but my reward is also far greater. Sometimes I feel like what I do isn’t enough but my gifts are used to invest into people individually. I think that this is an area that is not often reached. At times, it can mean far more to have someone encourage and invest in you, to hold you accountable and to help you grow in your faith. I know that I appreciate it when I receive it from others. What a blessing it is to be that person for people! I am thankful that God is helping me to realize my gifts and talents and to be appreciative of them as I learn how to use them to further His kingdom. He has given me glimpses of how my gifts have been used and reminded me that I am valuable. It is now my job to be faithful with what He has chosen to give me.
What has God given you? How are you being faithful with it, in order to multiply it?
*To help you find out what your giftings are, take the spiritual gifts assessment.