Everyone has a particular set of skills. We excel in different areas, and maybe we struggle in others. We see that play out at work, maybe in our homes at times, when we’re watching or playing sports, and certainly in school (if you can remember back that far). Not everyone can do everything really well. That’s fine. What happens in churches, though, is we often see our inability to do one thing or even multiple things as a sign that we are not useful at all. Nothing could be further from the truth, and yet many have felt this way. We listen to someone teach and think, “I could never teach like that.” Or during worship, maybe we get distracted by how wonderfully the worship team plays and sings, knowing we have not been so gifted. Comparing what we cannot do to what others can do can be overwhelming sometimes.
Sometimes, in the face of not being able to do something, we feel as though we can do nothing. But the truth is that God can use you, just as you are, to His glory and for His good purpose. I think there is an Old Testament story that perfectly illustrates that. That is the story of David and Goliath. I’m not looking at David, though. David was awesome. He was called a man after God’s own heart. Yes, he was smaller than Goliath, but the guy had killed lions and bears with his bare hands, so he wasn’t necessarily a lightweight. But he did seem to be outmatched nonetheless. He wasn’t big enough for the armor or sword provided to him, so we he went with his slingshot (FYI – this isn’t a child’s toy but a deadly weapon when used with precision).
On his way out to face Goliath, it says in 1 Samuel 17:40 that he picked up 5 smooth stones from the stream. Those stones are what I want to look at. What good are stones in a stream? They cannot move on their own, cannot talk, cannot sing, cannot teach. But they are hard, they can be heavy, and they can be used ferociously. When he faced Goliath, he put one of those stones into his sling and hurled it right at the giant’s head, with precision, knocking him down (after which, he did cut off his head with his own sword, to make sure he wasn’t just mostly dead). A single rock, in the hands of a master, defeated a giant, skilled warrior. The rock obviously didn’t do it on its own, but in the hands of a master, it was able to do what the entire army of Israel was afraid to do.
We are more than rocks. As Christians, we are God’s children, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and capable of doing God’s work on earth. 1 Corinthians 12:4 says, “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all.” Everyone has a gift. Everyone has a strength, an area of usefulness and excellence. Maybe you do not feel competent enough to do something on your own, but through the power of the Holy Spirit – in the hands of the Master – you can do far more than you ever expected, to God’s glory. Maybe you don’t see your gifts as being as valuable as someone else’s, but they truly are. They come from the same source of power: the Holy Spirit. God wants to use you, just as you are, to do something in the church. He doesn’t want to just leave you in the stream.
Sunday, March 5, we start our 301 class during first service. Through that class, you will be able to identify what your strengths and spiritual gifts are, and you’ll be able to discuss ways that those gifts can be used for God’s Kingdom, both inside and outside of the church. If you have not already taken it, I strongly encourage you to do so, because you have gifts and strengths, and God wants you to use those.