The Glory In Your Gifts

This morning I emailed a good friend of mine (a brother, really) about the idea of "vocation." He's a fine scholar and theologian and writer. At least that's how I see him. 

You and I have been given gifts or talents by God--physical traits that make us unique. We've also been gifted spiritually, some as teachers, some as encouragers; we know the lists. 

{Here are the lists if you want to read up on them: Romans 12:6-8, it lists these spiritual gifts: prophesying, serving, teaching, encouragement, giving, leadership, mercy; 1 Corinthians 12:3-8 lists wisdom, faith, knowledge, healing, miraculous powers, prophecy, distinguishing spirits, tongues; Ephesians 4:10-12 lists prophecy, apostles, evangelists and teachers.}

I heard a theologian address young scholars. He told them that they were unique as scholars. No one could do what they did. No matter if you become a car salesman as a career path, your 'vocation' will always be that of scholar. 

I told my friend that I think too often we shrink from telling folks what we are. As Christians it's easy to say, "Well, my vocation doesn't define me, Christ does." 

But that is only partially true. Christ certainly defines us. Our identity rests in him first. I am Christ's. But, I am Christ's writer. I am Christ's scholar. 

I don't wrap my self worth in my talent/gifts. That would be a mistake and I would struggle whenever someone criticized my work, which for me is daily. No, I glory in my giftedness because Christ made it so! And when the critiques come, I don't cry in my study. I go for a walk, and give it all to Christ. Because my identity begins in HIM. And not only my identity, but my WORTH. 

{Click here to read my columns on Vocation & Calling at Catalyst Beyond}

I think of Lyric, my daughter, who wants to be an artist and an architect and a doctor and everything, really. I can't wait to see the flower of talent blossom in her as she grows older. It's a blossom that God put in her. My job is to help mold it, and encourage her in it. 

Someday I would love for her to tell folks, "I am an artist. I am Christ's artist." 

Jesus loves when you and I use our gifts and abilities. It's our daily worship to him. Think about it today as you sing in church and pray and listen to the Word preached. The more dialed in to your "vocation," the thing only you can do, the more thanksgiving you can give to him. 

Your gifts fuel your worship, because you see how much God cares for you; how much he's given you; how much he wants you to show the world how well you teach, or run your business, or mow lawns, or bake, or write, or ... {fill in the blank!}

Today, glory in your gifts. Not in a selfish and prideful way. Rather, in the kind of way where you lift your hands and praise God for what he's given. Feel his glory within your heart. Feel that glory grow into contentedness, into security, into confidence, into the you he made you to be. 

Timothy Willard is the author of five books, including Longing For More: Daily Reflections on Finding God in the Rhythms of Life and the forthcoming The Life-Giving Adventure of Chasing Beauty (Eerdmans, 2019). He has collaborated on over 20 books and has written, consulted and served as spiritual director for organizations such as Chick-fil-A, Catalyst, Q Ideas and Praxis Labs. When he’s not riding the trails in the Appalachian mountains you can find him by the fire with his three daughters and his wife making up stories about Tom the back yard badger. He lives somewhere in the south Charlotte woods.