As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:10-11 ESV)
Gifts in this context are the skills and abilities that God has given you according to his grace. Often times, we may think that we are not gifted because we compare ourselves to others who seem to have a knack for doing something really well. And when we do that, we become our own worst critics.
Now, if God has given you ability to walk and use both hands, then surely there is something you can do to serve! Even as you are reading this text, you must realize that he has gifted you with an education; you can use what you learned to teach or mentor people. You may be telling me, “That’s nonsense! I am not a teacher.” But I say that you are! Have you ever told someone about a really good movie you saw? Or what about updating them on the latest news article you have read? They may seem like just ordinary, casual conversations, but they are indeed a form of teaching.
Our greatest and primary barrier to discovering and using our gifts is the fear of overcommitting ourselves to serve. We have other important obligations and we don’t want to exhaust ourselves with more problems. Our secondary barrier is our tendency to feel inadequate and not good enough to make a difference. If that is you, I would argue the contrary; whatever skill you deem as mediocre can be refined if you practice putting it to good use (except for singing. If someone told you that you are a bad singer, then please play an instrument instead).
For me, I hated public speaking because I would have stage fright and stutter while collecting my thoughts. So asking me to lead a meeting or address a team was never my liking. However, it eventually became my job and I needed to further develop if I wanted to keep it. So I enrolled into classes on facilitating meetings and delivering business presentations, and I did a lot more reading just to discover more ways of articulating ideas and concepts.
The more involved I was with workgroups, the more comfortable I began to feel, especially when we made progress and completed projects on time. I also gained more practice by joining small group Bible studies. The nice thing about them is they always have workbooks and study questions that we can all review together, and I didn’t have to know the answers because there was always someone more seasoned than me. What started out as a small group morphed into the best friendships I could ever have.
I share this experience with you because I hope it encourages you to try something. It doesn’t have to be anything epic or complex. You just have to start somewhere and serve. And once you’ve committed to that, God will transform you in ways you never would have imagined, such as placing you with people that will help you learn and grow. Before you know it, you will be serving in many ways that not only fulfill tangible needs, but also raise up newbies into the service of the Lord. You might find yourself actually enjoying it, and your enjoyment in serving God is what brings glory to him.