The Sunday School teacher asked the class, “What brings you joy?” A few members answered and I replied, “My morning walks and visiting with neighbors along the way.” What I should have answered was this, “I find joy whenever I have the chance to use the gift that God gave me.”
Each and every one of us are created in God’s image. Within each and every one of us God placed a gift, or talent that we can use in order to glorify Him. Our church has a saying, “Give of your time, your talents, and your treasures.” Time is easily known when we look at a clock on the wall, or the watch on our wrist. Treasures are easily seen when we hold money in our hand, or look at our bank account. God-given talent used for His work is another thing. Some people recognize this gift at a young age, and still for others like myself, it can take a while even when it’s right there in front of us.
All of my life I’ve had the hardest time telling people, “No.” There were times it would just wear me out trying to please everyone I could. At one point in my life I was helping so much that I was just flat out tired of helping, falling into bed each night exhausted. I couldn’t figure out why in the world I couldn’t say no, and why if in the rare moment that I did, I felt guilt for days. That guilt almost exhausted me as much as helping. Then one Sunday morning years ago, God’s message explained what my deal was. On that morning I was watching Dr. Charles Stanley who pastors at First Baptist Church in Atlanta. I was sitting alone in a quiet apartment, just me and this man of God on the television. Dr. Stanley was giving a message on our God-given gifts. He spoke about the different kinds and how each of our gifts together with the gifts of others, completed the body of The Church. This completed body can then work together as one. I heard him speak on people with the gifts of leadership, teaching, singing, and mission work. I thought, “Well, I have none of those important kinds of gifts.” When Dr. Stanley spoke about the gift of teaching I thought, “That is my husband’s gift.” Then I heard Dr. Stanley speak about his mother and how she was a helper, how sometimes she exhausted herself helping, but never let anyone know. The light bulb came on, “That’s me! ” God had spoken through this pastor and I had finally realized my gift, my talent. It wasn’t a leadership role, but my talent as Helper is just as important. Part of The Body that makes The Whole. I had been using my helping gift for my entire life, but I didn’t understand this or know how to use it wisely.
I still have difficulty saying no, but I also realize God doesn’t want us exhausted by the talents He has given us. I now listen to the Holy Spirit before saying, “Yes!” I’ve learned to distinguish between what I need to back away from, and the Holy Spirit’s magnetic-like feeling pulling me to someone who needs help. I’ve learned there are times to rest. If we don’t rest, our talents can’t be used in their greatest capacity. Jesus rested. Jesus took time away alone with God. Jesus only had a short time and He used His time wisely.
There is great joy in the talent God gifted in me, and I am so amazed by it. God is always opening doors where He can use our gifts and talents. If you are like I was and don’t understand or know your gift is that “Thing” you can’t seem to get away from, take a moment to rest, be quiet, listen, and God will in some way give you the answer to, “What brings you joy?” You’ll find that joy found is in serving Him because of Him.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.—Ephesians 2:10