“As each of us has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” 1 Peter 4:10 NKJV
One of the challenges I’ve had in life is the lack of the ability to say “No.” Ending up with too many things on my plate, I find myself overwhelmed, frustrated or giving less than my best.
This challenge seemed to have stemmed from several different things. The first culprit was the need to get the approval of my peers or those of significance to me. I wanted to please everyone in my circle and sometimes ended up pleasing no one, including myself. I also convinced myself that I enjoyed doing different things–kind of the “Jackie-of-all-trades.” I was always open to trying new things. So there goes another “Yes.” Additionally, I had this internal monologue that frequently went through my mind, “If no one volunteers, who will do it?” “I should.” So I did. This happened when I served as a Missions Chair for a church we attended. Though I did not seek the position, it ended up in my lap. I started as just one of the committee members serving alongside our Mission Chair. She discovered she had cancer and so she passed the baton to me. I was not sure the job was for me but, you guess right, I said, “Yes.” Even if the job to be done was not one of my strengths or gifting I took it on. And a Mission Chair I became for about 15 years.
Our committee of five accomplished a lot of things with the congregations’s support, but in retrospect someone more qualified might have done better. I am not saying God did not bless or use the ministry, I am just saying we all have our specific gifting and talents and we are each called for a specific purpose.
A clear illustration of specific gifting came to me after a month or two of being with my writing critique group. All of us have different styles of writing. I marvel at how some of my fellow writers are able to adeptly write historical fictions; or autobiographies; or biographical reports. All these genres are foreign to my writing genes.
One thing pellucid according to our key verse is that we are all given specific gifts to use to minister to one another. This is also echoed in 1 Corinthians 12:7, “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” Yes, it is good to serve, but I learned that I cannot hug every job that was dangled in front of me. I have to seek God’s leading. I have to seek wise counsel and confirmation and I have to be honest about my gifting. We have been given talents, gifts, and abilities and we are to give back, but I learned I had to do so wisely. That is good stewardship!