Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Are You in the Zone?

First, I have a question for you: What are you good at? Sketching, singing, running, hunting, basketball, etc.? (Hint: These are probably things that other people--not just your mom--have complimented you on.)

Now, allow me to talk to you for a minute about those talents in relation to your personal ministry, which EVERY Christian has (whether in the church or in the workplace, school, home, etc.). Caution: This concept may be foreign to you, but it's the truth. And you need to know it.

Contrary to what I've heard many people teach--some straight from the pulpit--about talents, just because you are good at something does not necessarily mean that God wants you to use that thing for Him right now.
Say what?!>>You heard me. :)
Great danger surrounds a Christian using his or her talents to serve God. Allow me to illustrate from my life as a wife:

I'm pretty good at cooking and baking. It comes very naturally to me, and I enjoy doing it. Immensely. However, it is tempting for me to spend a couple of extra hours in the kitchen in order to avoid housework or other responsibilities. I could easily rely solely on my ability to cook and bake to "be a good wife" and "make our apartment a home."
"I don't like to iron clothes."
"Let me distract you from your wrinkly clothes with my amazing culinary accoutrements!"  
What's the point of having good food if we have to eat it in a disorderly, jumbled-up dump of an apartment? Or if I serve it every single day with greasy hair and dirty finger nails because I "don't have time to shower"? Kind of makes the food less appealing, doesn't it?

The same thing is true in your spiritual life, but to a much higher degree. When you are involved in a ministry that utilizes your natural talents (e.g. you're good at singing and you're on the praise team), you are at a high risk of doing that ministry in the flesh.

That is, you are in danger of doing ministry in the name of Jesus but without His help. That is a scary, scary thing, my friends.

Comfort Zone = Danger Zone

It's like singing a solo in church on Sunday morning when you haven't read your Bible all week long. What you're really saying is: "I don't have the time to read my Bible" or "It's too hard to understand the Bible" . . . "But I'll minister to you in song (since it's easy), so you can hear hear the words of the Bible (which I don't read) in my pretty voice which will encourage you to read your Bible (which I don't do)."

We need to be vigilant in evaluating our spiritual lives: Did we even ask God about our involvement in a particular ministry? If He confirmed it, do we continue to seek His guidance in the day-to-day workings of that ministry?

If we are picking songs to show off our voices, preaching topical sermons "that will really get their attention," or making donations to the church to gain political prowess or tax breaks, we need to stop and assess our motives. Furthermore, if we are "doing" things in the name of Christ without spending time with Him in the Word every single day, what business do we have to be ministering to other people? If that is the case, we shouldn't be ministering at all. We should be learning!

We need to use our talents for the glory of God (not ourselves), and sometimes that means letting someone else take a particular role. Even if you are reading your Bible every day.

Just because you can do something (even extremely well), doesn't mean that you should do it. God may want to stretch you and use you in a way in which you feel you are, without His help, completely and utterly unequipped.

To be honest, none of us is equipped to truly do the work of the Lord without the help of the Lord--even if it's in our area of talent. We need to remember that we are reliant upon God for everything. Do we need to be good stewards of the talents that we have? Absolutely. But it is His hand that sustains us and gives us life (and our talents). He's God. And He doesn't need our talents to accomplish His goals. He needs to accomplish His goals. And He may choose to use us to accomplish them, but we need to have the right heart attitude when He's using us.

May we not forget that in our everyday endeavors.

With you in the struggle,

P.S. Check out 1 Sam. 17Matt. 6:1-4, and Prov. 27:2.

P.P.S. Here are a few other ironing faces that I chose not to use because, well, they were really silly. Yes, sillier than the one I did use...

Apparently ironing makes me sick?

Or angry?

Or Barney Fife... ???