Back to Reach | Devotion #4: Work Out Your Gifting
Pat Rowland | Locations & Development Pastor
Recently I sat with a young man who felt God’s calling to be a Pastor, and he asked me, “How do you know if you are the right fit for a ministry position?” He was asking about getting hired to do one of the various staff positions at a church. I do not consider myself old, but I have been working in ministry for many years now. This young man was just getting started; therefore, is still working out his gifting as we all had to do.
When you are new to your faith or looking to start serving in a church, you do not know what you do not know. What I mean, is you are very excited about your faith, and you want to serve. That enthusiasm and energy are highly needed in any ministry and volunteer role. God has given you a gift or gifts, and as you use them, you start to learn more about yourself. As an experienced Pastor, I know more today about how God has wired me and where my strengths start and stop. I have a good idea as to what I can do and what I cannot and should not do. Like this young man, I did not know that in the beginning. You will not know that either until you start exercising your serving gifts. Over the years, I have had as many experiences that showed me what I should not do as I have had that showed me this is who God wired me to be. For example, in my early days of following Christ, I wanted to sing until I actually did it in front of the little church I was attending. God helped work out my gifting by saying that it is not where you need to serve. It was terrible and embarrassing. I cannot believe I even admitted that to you all. Today, when people ask me if I sing, I reply, “No one wants to hear that, trust me.”
For almost 30 years, I have done things that I know are not my gifting, and I have been in roles where I believe it is what God has gifted me to do. I would not have discovered what I am meant to do if I did not try and let God show me what I am not created to do. That is how God has worked out my gifting.
Philippians 2:12-13 (NIV) says, “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”
Serving in ministry is a key part of your spiritual development. It is not about what you get from it as much as it is what you bring to the ministry. However, a by-product is that you will grow in your faith as you serve. We are blessed to be part of a church with many opportunities for you to work out your gifting. My advice to that young pastor is the same to you, “Start serving and start figuring out what God has gifted you to do and not do.” As you serve, you will get to know what you need to know about yourself and God’s unique gifting in you. How? Here are a few thoughts. Please note this is not an exhaustive list.
First, God can speak through affirmation from others. God will allow the voice of others to affirm your ability in the gift you are “working out.” Second, God can speak through the joy you experience in serving. What we do in our jobs, we get a paycheck for our effort. As we serve, we get an eternal reward and sense of joy that we gave of ourselves using our gifting. Third, God can speak through more opportunities to use that gifting for God’s glory. God will continue to bring you into those spaces to use that gift. Finally, seek honest feedback from those leading in the ministry you are serving, and allow them to be part of working out your gifting.
I want to encourage you to pray about serving, but do more than just pray, start working out your gifting by serving somewhere today! The sooner you start, the sooner you will be on your way to knowing God’s true gifting in your life.