"Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.
Take my voice, and let me sing always, only, for my King.
Take my lips, and let them be filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect, and use every power as Thou shalt choose.
Take my will, and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee."
I love that hymn. Don't you? I think we may sing it, or at least look over the lyrics at my Bible study on Sunday, as it very much applies to vocation and gifting. I was reading those lyrics and thinking about all the beautiful women in my life, the women whose true beauty is shown to me as they use their unique gifts to glorify God...and it occured to me that it is only by living in community with one another that we can truly come to know what our gifts are...and how we can use them to serve.
The first glimpse we get of what our gifts are..is realizing what makes us feel beautiful (sorry guys...I don't know if there is a masculine alternative or not). I suppose, to put it differently, it's those things that make us feel close to God...when we are able to forget ourselves for a little bit...it's those things that are just...so natural that we don't even think them praiseworthy...we think nothing of them...I mean, we've lived with our gifts our whole lives. ;) We're used to them, aren't we? Or perhaps, we just don't recognize them as anything special because it's we're examining ourselves. I don't really buy the last one...I mean, I'm not into the whole poor self-image thing...because I think the problem isn't the poor...it's the self....It's our failure to recognize ourselves as members of the Body of Christ -- members of the family of God -- We forget that we are created in "His image" and that the use of our gifts shows others who He is...it puts forth His image, not our own. They don't see us in what we do, they see who God made us to be, what He gave us, what He wants to reveal through us...or at least a glimpse of all that.
I guess...it's our self-image that prevents us from seeing our own gifts. Hmmmmm.....I'm still pondering that one...but I definitely believe that we have trouble seeing it from our own perspectives because we have a hard time separating our flawed sinful lives from the wonderful things that God has gifted us to do. That's where the Christian community comes in. As a family of believers, we should encourage our brothers and sisters to develop and use their gifts and talents. The first step in doing this is to point out to them what their gifts and talents are, when you see them.
How do you know what their gifts are? Pray, that's always first. Pray to God to help you in your discernment and to give you the words to say to your friend...that you might be an encouragement and not a nag. Also, pray that God might reveal His truth to your friend...that he/she may begin to be aware of how God is using them...that God might open them up to new opportunities to use their gifts. Also, pray that if it be God's will, your friend (brother or sister) will find an opportunity to continue to develop that gift for the glory of God.
Right, next...be positive...if you see that someone is good at something or has done a good job...tell them. Let them know what you think.
Also, be supportive, find ways to encourage your friend...pray for them, be there for them, help them in whatever way you can.
We all have all been uniquely gifted TO THE GLORY OF GOD. We are called to use them to honor Him -- to use our gifts to share His love, the Gospel, the truth...and to be careful not to allow our gifts couple with pride and lead people astray.
Scripture on my mind: Romans 12: 3-13
"3For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
4For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
5So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
6Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
7Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
8Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
9Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
10Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
11Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
12Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
13Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality."
I pray that I will have the courage and words I need to encourage those around me to use their unique gifts. My friends are so gifted...and so beautiful...and so precious to me. I hope I'm able to show them that. I pray that I might be able to use whatever gifts and talents God has given me to help others utilize theirs. :D
Peace be with you.