“Would you ever be interested in doing some fill-in preaching?” he asked me.
It was after church one Sunday, and my pastor caught me to ask me that question.
“I honestly don’t think it’s something God gifted me to do”, I replied. I don’t mind writing, but putting a message together and preaching seems to be a bit of a stretch for me. As I understand my abilities, that is not one of them.
I’m not gifted
I am familiar with passages like 1 Corinthians 12, where Paul writes about the ways we are gifted.
To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit… (1 Corinthians 12:8-9).
Paul goes on to list out ways individuals were gifted by God.
The problem, however, is I was defining my calling based on my perceived ability. That may be valuable, but it could just as easily cause me to say “no” to God’s call.
In Exodus, Moses uses this excuse when God calls him to return to Egypt. He makes it pretty clear that speaking is NOT how he was gifted. God’s response is sobering:
The LORD said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I the LORD? (Exodus 4:11-12)
God is the one who made us, with our ability. If He is calling us, He will gift us.
All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. (1 Corinthians 12:11)
Certainly, there is value in self-awareness. But, I need to pray for the discernment to recognize when He is stretching me and calling me to something new.
I need to spend less time trying to fit God’s call into my own perception of myself, and realize that He is the one who can shape me to conform to His calling.