Self-examination is always a good thing. Perhaps if we did it a little more often, we would find that the ministry God has called us to do and the cross that He has asked us to take up, aren’t as burdensome upon us as we sometimes feel.
I was teaching a Sunday school class years ago, when I came across an analogy that helped me see the gifts that God has blessed me with and how to reflect on those gifts and use them for His Kingdom.
When you were a child or teenager, what attracted your eye and put a smile on your face? Imagine you are walking down a sidewalk (in my case it was more like a cow path) and something off the beaten path catches your eye - a baby in a stroller, ducks on a pond, colored balloons rising into the sky, a dog and a Frisbee, or perhaps an elderly person sitting on a park bench. What caught my eyes as a child were things like a cotton candy machine at a fair with all that pink fluff whooshing in the hot air bowl. The bright colors drew me away from the gray cow paths on the farm in which I spent so much time. I still love cotton candy and bright candies in all the colors of the rainbow. So what is it that draws you away from the gray sidewalk and causes you to see bright, vibrant color?
As we walk down the path of life, and all the wonderful things we are drawn to and enjoy get stashed away in our memories, do we tend to forget about all the wonderful color that still surrounds us or do we only remember it only in fond childhood visions of the past? Perhaps we’ve had to make many dull choices along our path in order to make it in this life. And we realize our lives just aren’t very colorful. Are we now doing things that just don’t put a spark or twinkle in our eye?
When Earl and I first were married, we took a call within 2 months of getting married and moved from Virginia to Georgia. I was unclear in what was expected of the pastor’s wife. And one day, a few months into the ministry, I looked at Earl and said, “I’m not doing anything; what am I supposed to do?” In his usual kind way, he looked gently down at me and said, “Honey don’t worry about it, the women will start asking you to do things soon and then you’ll have plenty to do.” I harrumphed to him. But marking his words, that is exactly what happened. Yet over the course of time, I would end up doing things that I genuinely didn’t like doing. Eventually I found that the thing I truly liked doing was to invite over and feed the people of our church. But I only discovered this because I started doing just about everything they expected me to do.
For many years, I invited our entire congregation for an annual Christmas lunch after the choir cantata on a Sunday in December. I would fix all the food the day before and Earl would set up the tables and chairs and help, and we would warmly welcome those 250+ friends in line as they came through our house. It was so much fun. We would invite Earl’s staff and their spouses every year at Christmas time so that we could show our gratitude for the service that they done throughout the year. We would clear out the living room, set up tables in front of the fireplace, adorned with decorations, and serve them 5-course meals. And we would enjoy each other’s company and get to know one another a little better.
The ministry that God has asked me to do is with the flock that my husband has been given the privilege of serving. God uses the gifts that He has given me to give me joy and to bring color into the path of my life.
1 Corinthians 12:1, 4 &11 “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware.” – “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.” – “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.”
- Are You Too Afraid Open Your Gifts? – 2 Timothy 1:6-7 (dianneguthmuller.com)