Earlier this week I had a conversation with a little boy who was tested for the “gifted program” in his elementary school. Ever experienced this? They take the kid into a room, give him a barrage of tests to assess his mental aptitude, and make their recommendations. My heart broke to find out the boy would not make the cut. You’re not gifted; you’re just normal.
It got me thinking.
Scripture says that you have gifts. Some of these gifts are what we call natural talents. Some of these are acquired skills we pick up along the way. Still others are supernatural abilities that become activated when we start walking with God. It’s quite accurate to say that if you belong to Jesus you are in “the gifted program”.
Don’t underestimate your gifts.
When you are using your gifts, it feels like life. When you do something else, it feels like strife.
Blessed is the man who does not waste his life trying to do things he was never wired to do. Blessed is the woman who accepts the reality that she has only been called to do a few things. When she gives herself to those few things it feels like life. When she tries to do something else it feels like strife.
Blessed are you when you wrap your life around your gifts.
This is one of the reasons I love the David story so much. I know we usually see the pictures of pint-sized David with an under-sized slingshot taking down the super-sized giant. But before he ever dealt with Goliath he had to deal with himself. On his way to the battlefield we find a scene that’s almost comical: Size XL King Saul tries to lend his massive armor to a size small David. Nice idea with a fatal flaw.
It didn’t fit.
I wonder how many of us live lives that don’t fit. We go to school and major in subjects that fit someone else. We apply for jobs with all kinds of benefits, but they fit someone else. We join churches and clubs and organizations that plug people into positions that fit someone else.
There was nothing wrong with Saul’s armor. But it didn’t fit David. There is nothing wrong with being a teacher or an engineer or an organizer or a manager. Unless it doesn’t fit.
Are you living a life that fits?
He gave gifts to men. -Ephesians 4:8
Apparently one of David’s “gifts” manifested itself with a slingshot. And when it was time to take down the giant, he did not need the armor of men; he had learned how to roll with the gifts of God. There is something about the gifts of God. They’re always enough.
It’s almost counter-intuitive because we assume that our greatest achievements will come from our greatest labor. Yet when we start flowing in our gifts it usually feels so natural that we wouldn’t even call it work.
We assume our greatest progress will come by working on our weaknesses. Yet our greatest potential lies not in improving our weaknesses, but in really developing our strengths. Your greatest contribution won’t come in trying to learn Saul’s armor, but in mastering the slingshot that has your name on it.
I know your slingshot doesn’t seem as impressive as someone else’s armor. I understand that your mind may seem insignificant next to someone else’s genius. I realize that there is a little boy in every one of us that longs to have somebody tell us we are gifted. Well, someone has, so resist the urge, drop the armor, and pull out your slingshot. Because when you wrap your life around your gifts you will come alive. It fits. It’s life. But when you start trying to fit into a life that is not your own, it’s strife. Frustration.
I dare you to believe the truth:
When you use your gifts:
God is most glorified.
You are most satisfied.
* For more ideas on how do discover your gifts and focus on your strengths may I suggest: (1) Jump into community. That’s where your gifts will rise to the surface. (2) Talk to elders or leaders in your life and ask them to pray with you about your giftedness. (3) Read more about giftedness. Check out 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, and Ephesians 4 for some lists of spiritual gifts.