After being resistant to working fast food for the first few years of my working life, I relented and joined my best friend at a Chick- fil- A in Lawrenceville, GA. It seemed to be the better of the fast food options at the time and they had some college scholarships for those who worked with them for a couple of years. My friend and I weren’t on the same shift very often but I still remember our first lunch rush together. Not because it was particularly tough but because my friend, whom I respected greatly, said something to the effect of, “Wow Adam, you are amazing!” I had felt I was barely holding my own but the rest of the crew saw something in me that I couldn’t see for myself. I became curious about other things at which I might be good but unaware. It turns out, people who knew me well thought I was nice, smart, hard working, hard playing, a good athlete, and a good friend. My internal response to these observations was shocked disbelief but I found myself daring to hope they might be right. While I felt I had to give it my all to avoid being a disappointment, or worse, an annoyance, I began to hope that I had something to offer.
In my search for the good things about me, I ran across James 1:17. It says “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (NIV) There is no good thing that is not a gift from the Father. Slowly, my hope for some good in me began, little by little, to turn into a belief that these good things were gifts from my Father, my “gifting.” Discovering, developing, and operating in my gifting has been the journey of my spiritual walk. It has been so rewarding that I now work to help others discover and live out their gifting.
“Gifting” has become such a focal point for me in so many facets of my life, I tend to need occasional reminders of, well, everything else!
The most recent reminder of everything else happened during a conversation with a friend regarding our men’s group. He was realizing that a maturing process he was going through was opening the door for God to be ushered into his closest relationships. He saw that his struggles in the process actually qualified the need for the gospel, and the effect of the gospel, in the eyes of those around him. I realized a similar thing is true of my gifting, the portion of the image of God I am given to discover and live out. My portion is meant to open the door for all of God to be ushered in. My gifting and everything else.
I love how God lets me matter even though he doesn’t have to. He is everything the world around me needs and yet he gives me a role to play. He is the loving Father who gives his young son a hammer and says, “I need you to drive these nails for me.” Though he can drive the nails faster and better, he makes a gift of the hammer. The God who spoke everything into existence makes a gift of “the exhorter” and says, “go speak life into the people you meet.” I imagine the child seeing that hammer as the most amazing thing in the world and woe to the person who comes to try and take it away. It is this childlike fixation that can transform the exhorter gifting, which is pure (perfect), powerful (from the Father of the heavenly lights), and eternal (doesn’t change), into an idol.
Thankfully, the Father will occasionally take my hand, help me hang my hammer in the loop on my pants, and take me on a tour of the rest of the house. I see the front door, reminding me to always keep evangelism at the front of my mind because people need the Father. I see the living room and dining room where fellowship, laughter, and breaking of bread take place. Next, I see the study with the promise of a quiet place to pray, read, write and think. I tour everything else with the Father as my trusty hammer hangs at my side. He has thought of everything and invested a bit of himself into everything I see, even me. So, when a friend comes to visit and comments on the amazing hammer hanging from the loop, I am able to share the hammer and point them towards the rest of the house as well.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!