Readers Question / Comment - How did you come to do what you do? And how
do I know what my gift and skill is?
I was reading through a passage in I Chronicles when a verse
leaped from the page. Ch 15 v 22, "Kenaniah the head Levite was in charge of
the singing; that was his responsibility because he was skillful at
it."(NIV) I don't know why this should seem so important now; perhaps
it's only important to me at the moment. All the same, what I am hearing the
Word say is that Kenaniah was responsible (compelled, required, duty-bound) to
lead singing explicitly because that was where his aptitudes lay. The Word says
nothing about Kenaniah's desire--it doesn't enter into the equation. As
an aside, I think God blesses us with desires parallel to our abilities, but it
isn't specifically mentioned here.
My friend was in the office
just now, and I asked him about this concept. He mentions the gifts of Christ and
the gifts of the Spirit. As an example, he mentioned that some are evangelists...
(Ephesians 4), and seem to have particular skill in helping unsaved people meet
Jesus. I guess what I want to know is, how do I know what my "skill"
is? It seems I should have this worked out by now.
How, for instance,
did you come to do what you do? Your discussions of Scripture are profound and
understandable. You have a grasp of the historical context and are skilled at
interpreting prophecy yet to be fulfilled. Were these always natural leanings of
I appreciate your time. I am sure you are, in fact, doing what
you were meant to do.
thanks for the email. You asked how I came to do what I do. Yeah it
is interesting looking back. Firstly, I've never been a writer. I went
through school more on the maths/science side of things and that is what my
degree was in - maths and computer science. I became a Christian in my first year
at University but looking back even earlier I can see God using some courses I
did to give me some skills that I would need. In my last year at High School (and
in my first year at University while not a Christian), I 'decided' to
do something different and took History. Basically the whole year was reading,
studying, looking for key points, and mostly essay writing! Yuk! And I
didn't have a clue how to write really. I was way out of my comfort zone but
really tried to apply myself for some reason. That gave me some initial skills
that God would possibly use in the future.
In terms of speaking, that
was my biggest fear going through High School. Hated it... Big time. I was so
nervous in class speeches I was useless. But a funny thing happened. I became a
Christian when I was 19 and when I started going to church I'd listen to the
speaker and think to myself 'that's a good way of thinking about
that... I'll use that when I speak...' And then I'd think
'what? you can't speak! What are you talking about Iain!?' But
that happened a lot. I'd keep catching myself thinking that I'll talk
about this or that. So right from the start I knew I'd end up teaching
God's word. I didn't particularly like that thought initially cos I so
hated public speaking... but I knew that God was calling me there so trusted that
He would have to give me what I didn't have naturally.
study came firstly just from a passion to learn more about God. No agenda. Just
wanted to learn. When I became a Christian I just gobbled up books. Especially
about prophecy and what the Lord has done for us. It wasn't with any
intended goal at the start other than I really enjoyed it and wanted to know
more! Later when I started to realise that I would one day be teaching/preaching
for the Lord, well that helped focus that drive further to work and study hard -
I have never taken the position lightly... If you are teaching about the Lord you
don't want to be teaching error!
In terms of the website, well
that wasn't even my idea. Around 1998/99 my friend Brett said 'hey, I
was thinking that we should start a website with some Bible studies'. I said
'ok, I've got one or two studies I could put up but you'll have to
do most of the work cos I don't have a lot of time.' He said that was
fine. Famous last word as I've ended up doing basically all the work since
then! : ) But he pays the bills!
A person's call and gifting
doesn't have to be in an area of personal natural strength. Mine
wasn't. But it will be a person's God given passion. Like you
won't be an evangelist or Pastor without a God given heart for the souls of
people. You won't (or shouldn't) be a teacher without a strong desire
to study and reveal God's word. The other thing to remember is that there
are all sorts of gifts, some less prominent, but equally needed within the
Church. Sometimes we forget some of the things listed as Spirit given gifts in
Romans like giving, encouraging, helps, mercy... These are gifts!
12:4-9 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do
not all have the same function, (5) so in Christ we who are many form one body,
and each member belongs to all the others. (6) We have different gifts, according
to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in
proportion to his faith. (7) If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching,
let him teach; (8) if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing
to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him
govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. (9) Love
must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
is your passion when it comes to the Lord? That's a rhetorical question, but
it is worth thinking about. But I should add that I've also seen some people
get too tied up trying to find their 'gift' and 'place' and
it has led to discouragement if they can't find it. That's possible as
well but when we just enjoy God and stay open for what He wants, He is perfectly
able to make a way for us in the area He wants.
All the best,