It never fails. If you have two toys and you give one each to your two children, they won't like whatever you gave them, and they'll want whatever toy you gave their brother or sister. For some reason, we never outgrow this. We always want what someone else has. I guess this is one of the reasons God put discontent so high on His list. The tenth commandment, after all, is about wanting what your neighbor has thinking if we just had what our neighbor has, then our lives would be full and complete. Why is it we're so discontented with what we have?

Mainly, because few of understand what we have. To be sure, most of us can detail our material possessions. We know how much money we have in the bank and we know whether or not we own any property. Yet, few of us understand our spiritual gifts and we certainly don't know how to best employ our gifts. Most of us aren't convinced we have any spiritual gifts at all and don't believe our gifts, if we have them, could be of any use to the the kingdom of God.

The Bible is clear on this. All of us have a spiritual gift. Jesus, through His Spirit, gives each of His children a gift. Several gifts are listed in the Scriptures. Things like teaching and hospitality, administration and prophecy and other attributes and abilities are pointed out as necessary for a fully engaged church. All of us have a gift, but as a gift, they are hard to figure out. Gifts come naturally to us without much work or effort. Because gifts aren't earned, but simply given, we don't understand they're worth. That's why we need other people to point out our gifts. Someone will say, "You're pretty good at this," and almost universally, we'll respond, "Anyone can do that." In fact, most people can't do it. It's only in community where our gifts be discovered and best employed.

With our gift comes the realization, that while we may have a particular gift, we don't have all of the gifts. No one does. We are created and gifted in the church to work together. There is an interlocking, a divine inter-connectedness, that happens when we allow our gifts to be used in the ministry of the church. There is something about the church using the diversity gifts that reveals the glory of God in a way that no one person can. It literally takes all of us to make the church work.

Which brings up a well-meaning, but mis-guided common understanding we have about gifts. We assume if we are good at something, then we don't need to work on it. We think we need to spend all of our time trying to strengthen our weaker gifts. Nothing could be further from reality. While we may need to build up our weaknesses so we're competent in some areas, we don't need to become experts in every area of our lives. For instance, I don't have the gift of administration. While I need to have some abilities in administration, I don't need to know the details of excel spread sheets, financial reports and maintenance issues of our church. The church simply doesn't need me in these areas. We have better people in church to tend to those ministries. No matter how hard I work, I'll never be as good as these friends are in their areas of giftedness. I'm better off, we're all better off, if I stick to what I'm good at and let everyone else do what their good at.

Which brings me to our last point. You don't have to do everything. No one does. Do what you're good at. Do your job. Do what you're called to do and let everyone else do what they're called to do. Too many pastors try to do all the ministry in their churches. The result is a very tired pastor and a very frustrated church. When pastors don't let their members use the gifts God has given them, they don't allow their members to continue to grow in their faith and understanding of who they are in Christ. This lack of engagement from members limits their worship, discipleship -- their whole faith experience. Pastors were never intended to do it all. They should do their job, live out their callings and let everyone in the church do the same.

This is a basic and important teaching in the church. So, let's review:

  1. Everyone has a gift to be used in the church for glory of God.
  2. No one has all of the gifts. The diversity of gifts is a revelation of God's glory.
  3. Focus on growing your strengths, not building up your weaknesses.
  4. Stay with your gifts and let everyone use their gifts for their enjoyment and God's goodness in the world.

If you know your gift, get busy. If you don't, get with your brothers and sisters and find out what it is. The world has been waiting long enough for you to show up.