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Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit" (John 12:24).
Jesus said this to His disciples to help them understand the benefit of His impending death. When Jesus died, He literally was freed from the confinement of inhabiting one single body and now His Spirit is free to fill us all, causing us to be able to fulfill His words, "Truly I say to you, he who believes in Me will do the works that I do also. And he will do greater works than these, because I am going to My Father" (John 14:12).
How can you discover your calling?
How can we practically do those "greater works"?
Just as God gave certain talents to those who helped build the Tabernacle in the wilderness, He has also given talents to us to help build the Kingdom of God here on Earth during our lifetime. Knowing what He has gifted us with and being willing to use those gifts for the Kingdom of God should be our earnest quest.
How does one discover the genuine ministry gift embedded in our soul by Christ?
A wise man once told me that we are never more like Jesus than when we give. I have a strong motivation for giving. It is one of my motivational gifts. But the idea of giving of ourselves is very broad. As a pastor's wife, I have been called upon to do many things, some of which I have enjoyed and others I have endured. Sometimes I have been called upon to give in an area that caused others to endure.
All of us want to feel like we are making a positive difference in the world. We want to leave behind a legacy and have nice things said about us at our memorial. We want to be remembered not only fondly in other people's memories but we want our works that we have done to somehow live on as well. When we allow ourselves to be filled with the Spirit of God and then follow what Paul said in Colossians 3:23—"And whatever you do, do it heartily, as for the Lord and not for men"—we will be doing ministry.
We can sit around waiting for God to speak to us showing us His divine purpose in our life, or we can obey what He has already shown us to do.
"Do it heartily"—when we see a need that we are capable of filling, we do it for the Lord, not for men. This is an important key to finding out what God has gifted us to do.
Once we volunteer to do something that is needed, we will soon discover (and others may also) if we have been gifted for the task. Some people have been given many talents or gifts, and others only a few. The parable of the talents in Matthew 14:25-30 tells us about three men who were given talents to use for their master. The key difference between the men with 10 talents and two talents and the man with only one talent was that the men with 10 and two did something with what they had, while the man with only one sat around griping about his lack of talent.
Avoid being a scattergun
Keeping ourselves tuned in to what is needed to be done in the Kingdom of God is one aspect of finding the area we are most gifted in to minister. The second is not allowing ourselves to become over-busy. Sometimes the needs around us can be so overwhelming and the power to say "no" so weak within us that we soon find ourselves resembling a scattergun. We are sending out a lot of ammunition, but it is not really hitting the bullseye.
Prioritizing our responses is vital to our spiritual health and vital to preventing burnout. Here are a few thoughts to think about.
- Are you too busy to spend quality time in daily prayer and reading of the Scriptures?
- Are you so busy doing ministry that your family only gets leftovers?
- Are you so busy that you no longer enjoy what you are doing?
Ask yourself, "Am I not managing my time well for doing Kingdom work, or have I taken on tasks that I should have left for someone else?"
I am one of the main recruiters of volunteers in our church, and as much as I hate hearing the word "no," it is sometimes the most healthy response to a request for help.
Keeping an open hand
When we find the area of Kingdom work that really motivates us and energizes us, make sure to hold it with an open hand. God often gives us a task to complete for Him that is seasonal, not lifelong. Don't misunderstand me; He will always have something for us to do, but He may need for us to switch our focus.
Our motto should be, "Whatever the Lord needs is what I will be willing to do," whether that is cleaning the church or counseling women, teaching the children or preaching up front. It is all part of the Kingdom work.
I have been used in children's ministry most of my life. I have had large and thriving ministries, but in one church I was called upon to begin the children's ministry. This was not unfamiliar territory for me—I had done this before—but there were no children attending at all.
Each week I would prepare as though I would have a room full of children, not knowing whether anyone would come or not. In discouragement one day I cried out to God saying, "God, I don't even know if this is the right thing for me to do. It is so discouraging." God replied to me saying, "Wanda, if you will be faithful in the small things, I will bless you with great things."
There are times we need to have wisdom whether it is time to push it through or let go.
So get busy and put your hand to the plow. In all you do, do it with all your heart as though you were doing it in direct response to a request for help from Christ himself, and you will soon find that there will be something that you bring to the table that no one else can do as effectively as you. You will find that area of ministry that motivates you and, most of the time, energizes you. That will be your calling.
Three more things to discover your calling
- God's ministry will always push beyond our comfort zone.
- God's ministry will not always be fun. Sometimes it is hard work, and sometimes it is discouraging.
- Don't look to man for your praise. Sometimes God withholds our kudos to see how devoted to Him we really are.
Wanda Hackett has been leading children's ministries for over 40 years in churches throughout the States and Canada. She has a strong passion to see children experience Jesus Christ on their level—in a very living and relevant way. She has written numerous Children's church curricula, some of which have been translated into Croatian. She has 3 children—who are all in full-time ministry—and 9 grandchildren.
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