Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Free to Be Yourself

"We have different gifts, according to the grace given us." Romans 12:6a

There's an often-told story of a young boy who walked the local beach looking for starfish. Whenever he found one of the little sea creatures, he would carefully pry its legs from any rocks before tossing it back into the sea. Under his careful watch, hundreds of starfish were returned to the water.

One day an older man noticed the young boy carefully throwing starfish back into the sea. Intrigued, he couldn't help but ask the boy about his ritual.

"Why do you throw the starfish back into the sea?" the old man asked.

"Because the starfish will die if left in the hot sun on the shore," the boy explained.

"But there are millions of starfish, and multitudes of shores with countless beaches upon which you will never walk," the man contended. "On each of those beaches there are throngs of starfish you will never save. Why do you bother?"

The boy looked down at the sand and picked up a starfish resting nearby.

"Because today, this day, this one will live," the boy replied. And he threw the starfish back into the sea.
The man watched as the boy continued his practice. Then, he reached down himself, picked up a starfish, and threw it into the sea.

The story is a rich reminder that in a world of needs, one person can make a big difference. It's also a lesson in the importance of doing what you are uniquely created, gifted, and called to do. Like so many others, the boy noticed the starfish dying on the seashore, but unlike the others, he made a decision to do something about it. He used the abilities God had given him to make a difference. Like the old man in the story, not everyone will always understand or get what you do, but regardless of the response, you are called to use the talents and gifts God has given you for His glory.

1. Make a list of five things you are naturally good at doing. Then, make a list of five things you are passionate about.

Now, take a moment and reflect on ways in which you can combine your gifts and talents with your passions and interests. In other words, how are you uniquely wired to make a difference in the world around you?

God designs every person differently. He gives us different personalities, different strengths and weaknesses, different gifts and talents. All of these differences can be used to help build His kingdom. In the Old Testament, God chose specific individuals with unique gifts to build the tabernacle.

1. Read Exodus 31:1-11. Make a list of the unique talents of Bezalel.What was Oholiab's role?How did their gifts and placement complement each other?

2. Read Exodus 36:1-2. What qualities did the craftsman called by Moses need? Do you think it's possible to have one of those qualities and not the other? Explain. Why are they both important?

Sometimes fear can hold you back from using your talents, gifts, and even yourself to help others. You may be afraid of failure or afraid that you won't fit in or afraid that what you do won't really matter. But God makes it clear that everyone has a role to play in His kingdom.

1. Read 1 Corinthians 12:4-26. What will happen if one part of the body chooses not to function properly or shuts down completely? What will happen if one part of the body spends all its energy trying to pretend it's another part of the body? Why is it so crucial that every part of the body perform as it's uniquely designed?

2. Do you have any talents or gifts you're not using? Are there any areas in which you spend your time and energy trying to be someone you're not?

3. Take a moment to feel your fingertips. Just as everyone's fingerprints are one-of-a-kind, so are our personalities, strengths, and contributions to the body of Christ. No one on the planet has the exact same blend of gifts, talents, and passion. Reflecting on the story of the boy and the starfish, who is God calling you to reach? Where is He calling you to make a difference right now?

Digging Deeper
Sometimes when we step out in faith and use our talents and gifts for good and for God's glory, things don't always go according to plan.Read Galatians 5:7-8. How do you respond to those who are trying to discourage from fulfilling the call on your life? What steps do you need to take to surround yourself with people who will encourage you, challenge you, and pray for you.

Ponder & Pray
Take a few moments to reflect on your life so far. Are there any talents or gifts that you used in an earlier age or stage of life that you've packed up and put away? Do you have a gift for music or art or math or science or any other that you haven't been using? What steps do you need to take to begin using that gift once again? How can it be used to bless and encourage others.

I LOVED this!! It is from the Bi-weekly Bible Studies from Woman of Faith and Friends!

1 comment:

clkight said...

ouch! how did you know i put some of my gifts on the backburner? i've been afraid of losing them, guess i better bring em to the front...
thanks, tina!