Friday, December 6, 2013

Use It

Reading the Bible is still hard for me.

After of many years of forcing myself to pick it up every day, I had quite the hiatus and the last year has proven to be difficult in resuming such discipline in my life. It's hard to read it with a fresh perspective, to not scan through the text quickly as though I already know everything it says. It's hard to not skim over familiar Bible stories, to tune out when I get to a verse that I know by heart. It's hard to sit. To be focused. To absorb. To want more.

But, I know it's good. I know it's true. And I know that I want the Word written all over my heart and I'll never get there if I refuse to try. I need it. And I can't act like I don't.

And so, the other day, I flipped through the pages of Isaiah, quickly eyeing the things I've underlined in the past...recognizing that I didn't have nearly enough time to even begin to dive into the depth of each passage. I decided Paul was a better choice for the moment and found myself in Romans. Romans 12.

I forgot that sometimes when I read Scripture (even Scripture I've read hundreds of times) new things can leap out at me. That sometimes it can be fresh. Sometimes (usually always, if I'm willing) it can transform my outlook for the day...and even for my life. I like it, especially, when it backs my own thoughts...and I'm often reminded that my thoughts have been rooted in and shaped by Scripture.

Lately I've been an advocate of doing what you're passionate advocate of following dreams... of living large. Too often I think we get lazy, we get discouraged, we get fearful, we feel hopeless. Too often I think we allow life to seize us and when things get hard, it's easier to stay within the confines that we know we can handle. Too often we take jobs for security, convenience... too often we stay in relationships for comfort...too often we stay close to home because leaving feels too hard.

But I read this yesterday:
We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
If you're like me, you've probably read this Scripture quite a few times in your life. In fact (if you're like me), you probably just skimmed over it because you knew what it said.

But, this time, I'm struck by the simplicity of it.
Basically, I feel like Paul is saying, "Hey... if you have a gift that you've been given, use it". If you know how to serve, serve. If you can teach? Teach. If you're great at encouragement, give anyone and everyone encouragement. If you love to give, give and give and give.

And I just wonder how many of us are doing what we're good at? How many of us are using the gifts that we've been given in ways that truly matter? How many of us are doing whatever it takes, being diligent in our strengths, giving ourselves wholly to the developing of we can be the best we can possibly be to glorify the Lord with our entirety?

I want that.
I want that for me.
I want that for the ministry I work in.
I want that for believers all over.
I want that for the church.

That we would be a people who can recognize that we've each been given different gifts...and then that we might use them. Fully. With everything we are. That we wouldn't allow any excuse to get in the way of doing whatever it takes to be better, to excel, to thrive... to simply do good things with what we've been given.

Can it be simple?
Can we just do?
Can we stop making it all so complicated and walk confidently in who we are created to be? In the things that we are good at? Can we focus on ways that we might allow our different gifts to have an eternal impact in this short lifetime here that we are given?

Maybe it means stepping out of our comfort zone, doing something risky, leaving something behind... maybe it means spending more money, maybe it means putting yourself out there, maybe it means facing possible rejection. Maybe it means a lot of things that you don't love the idea of...

But what if we trusted the Lord with the gifts that have been bestowed to us and then walk fully into them, confident that He who we serve is faithful and good?

Let's be bold with our gifts.
Let's let it be simple.
Whatever you've been given, use it.
It's time.
You were made to thrive so that He might be more glorified.

Let's thrive.

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