Yesterday, I listened to a couple sermons on using what’s in your life to minister. The speaker spent the last 22 years of his life working in Africa as a missionary, but not in the typical sense.
This gentleman discussed the people on his team throughout the years and the purposes they served. For example:
- The lady who was an excellent quilter and used her talent to help women in need make clothing and blankets to use each day.
- The man with the green thumb who used his gift to grow food for a starving nation.
- The missionary himself who used his world-class martial arts training and skills to help people who faced genocide in the nineties regain a sense of stability and self-confidence.
This missionary placed a deep emphasis on using yourself and your situation as a tool, no matter how unrelated they may seem to the idea of God’s work.
I thought that was an excellent message – one that more people need to hear. Sometimes we forget that God can use us. Sometimes we forget that we all have talents and gifts and mindsets and hearts that not everyone has.
I grew up in a family of preachers. My grandfather has been a minister and missionary for 61 years now, and there are several more like him throughout our family tree. And that’s cool! But I also grew up surrounded by people who used their gifts to minister in less conventional ways. I watched my other grandfather use his farming and craftsmanship to help feed and shelter and provide church buildings for people all over the place. I watched one of my grandmothers use her talents with beauty care to build lasting relationships with her clients and then show them her inner beauty through Christ more than any makeup or skin care regimen could provide. I watched my mother run a daycare out of our home throughout my childhood, and I saw the clear mark she left on those babies and their families to this day. I saw a family friend of ours use her bakery to minister to the community she lived in most of her life. I see my lifelong best friends use their talents to be school teachers and medical field employees who touch dozens of lives every single day. On and on the list could go, but the point is I’ve spent a lot of time watching people use their lives in unique ways to minister to others.
In my case, somehow, I drew a short stick and was called to minister to the PI-IBS and PTSD worlds. Is it what I would’ve chosen for myself at any point in time? Let’s be real…absolutely not.
But when you allow God to work through your circumstances, your hardships, your usual behaviors and interests, amazing things can happen. In my particular situation, there are apparently over 6,000 of you out there now who needed to hear at least a few of the words on my digital paper. Pretty wild and unexpected, but here we are.
Today, I encourage you to look for something you can do with what you’ve got. It doesn’t have to be grand. It may be as simple as texting that person you know needs encouragement or sending a card to someone just because. It may be taking your baking skills and doing something for your community. It may be visiting someone at the hospital. It may be becoming a preacher. It may be moving to Africa or Europe or South America and using your life in ways you can’t even comprehend now. Who knows?
God does. And He will use you if you let Him.