Last week the kids and I went to volunteer at a local church providing disaster relief for tornado victims. When I approached the pastor’s wife and told her that we were there to help, the first words out of her mouth were, “What are your gifts?”
I was caught off guard and just mumbled something about being there for whatever she needed. However, the more I thought about her question, the more I realized that it was exactly the right one to ask – in that situation and many others.
See, God doesn’t give us all the same gifts. That would be counter-productive to us working as the body of Christ.
At a women’s ministry meeting that I attended just before Christmas last year, plans were well underway for this year’s women’s retreat. There had been a few minor personality clashes, as I think there always is in group planning, especially where women are involved – sorry, but it’s true.
However, one of the organizers spoke up and said something I found really profound. She said that she really felt that God had purposely not given her all the giftings necessary to pull the event together without the help of all the other ladies.
She said that, if she had been able to do it all on her own, she would have received the glory (or felt she deserved it – it’s been awhile and my memory is poor), rather than God receiving it.
Isn’t that so true? God caused confusion at the Tower of Babel because people were basically getting a big head. I do think that part of the reason God gives us different giftings is to keep us humble. Another reason, of course, is so that we have to rely on each other in order to work together as the body of Christ.
Shortly after we arrived at the church to work, the pastor’s wife called us together for a little training session. She outlined her plan for how things would work, including the fact that she wanted us to talk with the people coming in for assistance – basically to listen if they wanted to talk and to pray with them.
Oh, I quickly went back to that “what are your gifts” question! My husband would be so good at talking and listening to people and praying with them. Me? I could feel my palms getting sweaty just thinking about it. Clearly not my gift.
It wasn’t long before I found myself working happily along behind the scenes under the direction of someone who was clearly the take charge type. I soon found out that neither she nor the other woman heading up the packaging of the food boxes even attended the church. They were, however, both the “see what needs to be done and take charge” types. I’m more the “tell me what needs to be done and I’ll do it” type. We worked well together.
It takes all kinds of gifts and personality types to run a group, a home, a church, a business. I don’t think God puts people together randomly. I am a saver; my husband is a spender. Without him, we’d be in the poor house.
He’s one of those people that can make easy small talk with random strangers. I have to get to know people first. When it comes to helping, my first impulse is to give financially; his is to give of his time and abilities. He teaches me to give of myself; I help him to realize there’s a time to let go of some money.
Following the disasters in our area, there was a lot of talk within the community about who was doing what to help and who should be doing what to help. The fact of the matter is, though, that we couldn’t – and shouldn’t – all be doing the same thing. The only thing people should be doing is what God has called them to do within their gifts and talents. (That doesn’t mean that God is never going to ask you to step outside your comfort zone.)
Some people were able to do physical labor – operating chainsaws and removing debris. Others were able to give financially to reputable relief organizations. Some were able to give of their time, volunteering in relief distribution centers. Others were able to donate blood. Some made lunches to hand out to relief workers and victims. Others prayed.
Wherever you are, whatever you situation, God had created you for His purpose. He has made you uniquely you. What are your gifts? How would God like to use you in your family, your church, your homeschool group, your community?
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. – 1 Corinthians 12:27