by Jonathan Daugherty
“We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.” Romans 12:6-8
So, by now I hope you are seeing the importance of giving, as a matter of attitude and just overall life philosophy. Money and “stuff” seem the easiest to recognize as gifts, or the investment of time into developing friendships. But what about the idea that God has “gifted” each of His children in a unique and purposeful way? How do we go about recognizing and sharing such gifts?
I wondered for a long time what my “gift” was from God. I knew I wasn’t a prophet, even though I always felt a sense of discernment around others. I knew it wasn’t serving or encouraging, even though these are tasks all believers are called to engage in. I often grew frustrated because I just knew I had to have a purpose, but I silently wondered what it was. In many ways, I felt like I identified with Moses.
Moses was a child of great promise, yet born in a very tumultuous season in history. His wise and loving parents made a way for him to escape the wrath of a wicked ruler, and in so doing Moses was eventually raised up among Egyptian royalty even though he was a Hebrew. God had a very specific purpose for Moses, but Moses struggled with knowing exactly what it was and how it would be manifest in his life.
It was apparent that God’s people would need help if they were going to escape the harsh slavery under Egyptian rule. Moses sensed that he had the position and means to provide such exile, but again the specifics were elusive. One day, in anger, Moses killed an Egyptian who was arguing with an Israelite. Maybe this would be the moment when God’s people would rally behind Moses and give him support as their leader. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. In fact, one of his own came against him with harsh accusation and he fled the country. He lived the next 40 years in isolation from his people. I’m sure for many of those lonely years he relived the shame of his failed leadership and cowardice.
Did God’s purpose for Moses change in those years after he fled? Not in the least. Did Moses readily know that? Seems like he didn’t, for when God came to him in the burning bush and subsequent encounters to commission him to rescue the Israelites, he balked at the idea, pointing out all his flaws and reasons why he couldn’t possibly be the right candidate for the job. I have felt a kindred spirit with Moses.
Eventually, Moses surrendered to God’s will and the Israelites were led to the Promised Land (after another 40 years of wandering in the desert). God had given Moses a “gift,” a unique calling to fulfill while he lived on this blue planet. And everyone God calls has also been given a special purpose, a unique “fitting” into His plan. God gives to us so we might give to others.
I have come to learn that my gift is “word of wisdom,” which is simply being able to bring an aptly timed word or message that moves others to consider their actions and make appropriate change. This is not something that comes from within me, but rather is a gift from God, something He empowers in me in order to bless others. I resisted using this gift for a long time, much out of ignorance, but some out of willful defiance. I simply didn’t think I should have the privilege of ministering to others when my past was so littered with sin and “murder” (like Moses). But God destined my purpose before I was even born, so how could I change His mind, even by my sinfulness? (“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to us…”)
You have a gift, my friend, whether you actively recognize it or not. God desires to powerfully impact others through YOU! Some of us may spend years in quiet shame, coming to grips with our own failures and fears. Others may, like Joseph (Gen. 37-50), surrender early to the will of God. Either way, the time will come when God will say, “It’s time.” When He does, will you surrender and allow Him to direct you to bless others or will you recite all the feeble reasons why you couldn’t be the man (or woman) for the job?
Give the gift God has given to you. You won’t know true joy until you do…