This is one of the chapter titles in Francis Chan’s book Forgotten God. There have been times in my life where I was so concerned about what was coming next in my life, that I wasn’t present and engaged with that God had given me to do right where I was living. “It’s much less demanding to think about God’s will for your future than it is to ask Him what he wants you to do in the next ten minutes. It’s safer to commit to following Him someday instead of this day,” Chan says. As I interact with people who want to go overseas and serve with the Alliance, I like to know how they are using their spiritual gifts right now either in their church or in their community.
In the Bible there are a couple key passages on the spiritual gifts: I Corinthians 12, Romans 12:6-8 and I Peter 4:11. If you do not really know what your spiritual gifts are there are a couple ways to discover this. First, ask those in your community and your pastor what they would say your spiritual gifts are. This can be very eye opening! Second, what are the ways that you are serving right now that bring you the most joy and fulfillment? This is a clue that you are in your gifting – explore these a bit more. You can also take an online test that will help you assess what your spiritual gifts are or take a class at your church. Lastly, asking the Holy Spirit to reveal your spiritual gifts to you also is very important.
I often hear people say that they want to go overseas and help people who are being manipulated or taken advantage of – but they are not involved in this sort of ministry within their very own community! I know several women in their 70’s who volunteer once a week in a home for women coming out of addiction and others who visit a refugee center once a week and help teach English. They have sensed the Holy Spirit leading them to step out even in their senior years and serve their community through the spiritual gifting that he has given them.
I think that there are also creative ways to use the talents that God has given us. The Holy Spirit guides us to step out in faith to get involved and it’s crazy to see how God really can use you in his kingdom! I visited an Alliance Church in rural Ohio where one of their ministries is to operate a busy school crossing in their town each day of the week. They take turns making sure people are there to help kids cross the street and their pastor makes sure he takes a turn each week as well. Another young woman I knew from my days of leading Student Ministries at Toccoa Falls College learned that her gifting with details and loving order and excel spread sheets were administrative gifts that she could use to serve people in leadership to help them accomplish their goals.
This new year as you think about God’s will for your life – ask the Holy Spirit to direct you in how you can step out in faith to serve him today with the gifting’s he has given you. Commit to following God today as Chan suggests and see the amazing places that might take you in your faith and in your journey with God tomorrow.
Amy Roedding served in Ecuador at the Alliance Academy with the C&MA for 18 years. She also directed Student Ministries at Toccoa Falls College and taught Spiritual Formation. Today, Amy serves as a director in International Ministries where she gets to help develop, assess and sendout new long term missionaries for the Alliance.
Forgotten God, Francis Chan. Chapter 6