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Can You Hear Me Now?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

All For Him

"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.


Dawn said...

I have been there myself - not in a "new start" church, but in the one I've always attended. It is such a bad habit to do things in our own strength, when we think we have much to offer. Thank you for these thoughts again today.

Praying for your other situation - I'm glad the song soothed your soul yesterday.

Dawn said...

I found this in My Utmost for His Highest for November 11: "Always guard against self-chosen service for God; self-sacrifice may be a disease." That really hit me and seems apropos to your thoughts today.

MiPa said...

"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."

Thank you for this reminder. Powerful post.

Anonymous said...

When you are involved in a start-up church it is very easy to take everything on as your personal "baby"...I know, my old church was all about "church plantings" and I loved it...but I too had the same "epiphany" and learned that it is not about "me"...this is also one of the reasons that I went on sabbatical in regards to my blog..another post for another day :)...thanks for this contribution to is nice to know that there is someone out there who is involved in start-up churches but also has the wisdom to realize it's all about Him. Bless you.

Sally said...

Beautiful Kim

the voice said...

I have a post planned on the same thing, but from a different angle. It is all about motives, why you are doing it, not what you are actually doing. God favors the person who would quietly fold and staples, but is doing it out of a desire to truly serve, over someone who, say, paints the entire church, but is doing it to hear praise from others. Great post today. Still praying for your family. God bless you, ken

The Imperfect Christian said...

I too tend to take on too much. I have learned it is not how much I do, but how lovingly and dedicated I am to what I do do! This is an inspiring post!

Amydeanne said...

a few years back I realized this and took it to the other extreeme and dropped everything... cold turkey... so I could rest in God and rebuild... I'm still working on that.. a wonderful reminder!

FarmgirlCyn said...

Gold, silver and precious stones are the foundations we must lay. These are the things God is calling us to. The Holy Spirit is so kind to let us know when we are building with anything other than these. Isn't God awesome???

eph2810 said...

I had to smile through the entire post. I have been there - taking on too much - more out of own pride than be lead by God to do them. Then I got burned out - He put a stop to a lot of things. Now I only serve where He wants me to serve :).
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this week's CWO quote.

Ame said...

excellent ... excellent ... i am glad i read this today :)

R.G. said...

Kim, did God's laugh sound like Morgan Freeman or more like James Earl Jones? Just wondering.

You're quite prolific lately and everything you write is beautiful. Thank you!!!

Spookie the Warrior said...

It is so easy to get carried away in "ourselves", I know we have all been there. But how blessed we are and what a blessing we can be in His church and in building His kingdom when we stop and listen to what He wants us to use our gifts for. And how mightily we can be used when we do stop and listen.

Good post Kim, thanks.