"No gift unrecognized as coming from God is at its own best... when in all gifts we find Him, then in Him we shall find all things."~ George MacDonald~
At first I thought… “I can’t think of one applicable story reflecting this quote in my own life…”
God laughed out loud. I could actually hear the deep, resounding laughter from heaven as He pushed ‘rewind and play’ on the heavenly DVR/DVD. Before my entire history was replayed…I grabbed a hold of one that is fairly recent and absolutely speaks to this truth.
I was attending a ‘start-up’ church, my first of that genre (at that time). A start-up church presents an interesting dichotomy. There is enormous NEED for ministry and servants and enormous OPPORTUNITY to serve in different capacities. There is a desire and passion sparked by the newness…which ignites many servant to find their ‘niche’.
I was one of those ‘servants’.
I began to take on many different service opportunities, all in the good name of ‘gifting’ and service. I cleaned, painted, organized, administrated, encouraged, taught, worked the nursery, trained, etc. I was a ‘machine’! I did more and more and more and more. I wrote for the church newsletter. I was developing a social service referral book for congregants. Any new ministry that popped up…I was all about trying it on for size. After all I had tons of gifts.
It never occurred to me what I was doing was out of God’s will. I actually believed I was doing all this for the good of the church…therefore the good of God. I began getting hints from God that I was no longer in His will. I was acting on my own arrogance and pride. My gifts were only serving me.
The seed of bitterness began to take root and I began to resent all the “work” I was doing for this church.
“God, do something…make them see how much work I have done for YOU!” I cried to God.
God said nothing.
Friends began to tell me I was taking on too much. I was trying to do everything and that wasn’t helping anyone. I was acting out of compulsion and it was no longer pleasing to God.
When I realized how much I resented making coffee and folding the bulletins one week, it was as though a light went on. I stepped back…I dropped all of my service activities but the one that I felt passion about. I repented to God and asked that God would lead me each week in the artistic displays I continued to do. The weeks I prayed and asked for God’s hand at my gift were the weeks it came together without a hitch. The weeks I tried to do it ‘on my own’…were dismal failures. They were hard to prepare, to display, and rarely noticed.
God reminds me daily that my gifts must be rooted in Him or they are nothing but weeds strangling the vine that need to be pruned and cut away. The gifts from God must be nurtured and led by Him and then they become something wonderful FOR HIM! They bless God and I see the doors swing open for the blessings He brings back to me.
We recently began attending another start-up church and it is a weekly struggle not to take on ‘too much’ as I endeavor to meet a need, but stay in line with the gifts God wants me to use. I have had to drop things; sometimes for a season, other times permanently. I have to trust that God has already put into someone the very gift that we lack and until we pray and wait for this person…this gift, God cannot move.
My prayer is that I will seek to find Him daily in ALL THINGS and I will recognize God for every gift He chooses to place with me and also hear when He gifts another.