Proverbs 18:16 NKJV – A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before great men.
Before I was a Christian, I didn’t know the gift of music that God had placed upon me. I’d sing around home, listening to the likes of Whitney Houston on repeat, and I’d stand in the middle of our lounge and sing at the top of my lungs. At school, I had always been a part of the choir or part of the chorus in the school musicals, but because of someone’s perception of me, I was never offered anything. I was always told, you’re too fat to have a lead role. Of course, this added to the numerous insults I received as a youngster and I was never validated by leaders, yet I always had a DREAM, in fact in my school senior yearbook I wrote “one day, I will record an album of my own songs, with me playing all the instruments”. NOW, at that time, I’d never written a song and I could only play the recorder… I used to go and sit in the music room and watch the drummer play, but I never played.
When I came to know the Lord in my early 20’s, I became the Nanny for a couple of Christian entertainers, Phil & Sally, who at the time would sing around the clubs and restaurants in the city. And the reason I started singing, was because they encouraged the gift that was in me. I went to visit my Dad one night at work, and Phil was playing at Dad’s work, and my Dad asked Phil if I could sing a song with him… I was SO embarrassed… but, I got up and sang and one song became another and another, until I’d ended up doing half the gig with him. Phil then introduced me to Sally and we’d sing all the Lionel Richie songs together and through that, I was led to the Lord. You see, they had a GIFT and they encouraged the GIFT that was in me.
I love Ps. Bill’s saying “You being great takes nothing away from me.” Your success validates me… if you are better at something than me, as a leader, it validates who you are.
One of the greatest lessons I learned about how God see’s me and the gift He’s given me, I never thought I was good enough. One of my closest friends for many years, was a worship leader and I used to struggle thinking, “If only I could lead worship like she does”… I struggled with this for years. And it wasn’t until I went to Israel and I was sitting in the middle of a night of Hebrew worship, which was very different to anything I’d ever encountered, and I sat there judging the worship and struggling to enter in… and I heard that still small voice inside of me saying “I didn’t call you to worship like your friend… I called you to worship as YOU, Janet, I’ve called you to sing of my holiness” – and right at that moment I broke and began to weep. What I learned was that, no matter was happening in the worship, I needed to enter in and forget what’s going on around me, or if I approve of the type of worship it is. If I struggle, then I need to press in harder and find JESUS in the Worship.
We all have different roles in the body of Christ. We can’t all be doing the same thing. I am wired differently to you, as you are wired differently to the person sitting next to you.
Seriously…ask me to go get a sledgehammer and tear down that wall, I’m like yep…let’s go! Give me a needle and a piece of cotton and tell me to fix a hole in my sock… ummmm NO THANKS! Do I like to cook…NOPE, in fact I try and stay OUT of the kitchen… it’s not my thing, BUT, ask me to problem solve an issue on the computer and I’m there.
1 Corinthians 12:12-27New King James Version (NKJV)
Unity and Diversity in One Body
12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into[a] one Spirit. 14 For in fact the body is not one member but many.
15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? 18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. 19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be?
20 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. 23 And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, 24 but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, 25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.
We ALL have different gifts, some people like to do Art, others Cook, some people are amazing teachers, others musicians… it doesn’t make one gift less important than the others… it just means that we’re different and make up different parts of the body of Christ.
If everyone was like me:
- Then we’d have no meal after this morning’s service
- We’d have no artwork at the front of our pulpit
- We’d have no-one to sew up the holes in my jeans…lol
BUT just because I do what I do, also doesn’t make you less important than me. We need people to serve, to clean, to welcome people as they come in, to put their hand to the plough.
I remember when I was about 8 years of age, we were still living in England and my sister had a horse called “Scooby” and we’d keep Scooby in the garage at the back of our home. Now at the time, we lived in old miner’s cottages, so there were about 5 homes, and then a driveway to the back of the cottages and a laneway behind, so people could get to their garages and back yards. Anyway, one day, at the end of winter, we were bring Scooby out in the garden and he got away. We spent so long trying to get him to calm down and come back to us, that we devised a plan… all us kids in the neighbourhood would link arms and stand strong and then Scooby would stop because he wouldn’t want to harm us. So there we stood…thinking yep we can do this…and here comes this frisky horse, galloping towards us…and we stood there and then when he was a few meters away from us….we all dropped hands, screamed and moved out of the way.
You see, when we link arms, we are stronger – together… just as ONE BODY.
1 Corinthians 12:4-7 – 4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:
“gifts are given for the profit of all AND YOUR GIFT is what will help you fulfill your vision
I started to sing and was invited to be part of the church choir… I’ll never forget one day, while practicing a song, I had a choir member turn round to me and tell me that I was singing too loud… of course the choir director kept asking me to sing louder…lol… I couldn’t win. BUT even though I was singing, I still couldn’t play a musical instrument… so when I was nannying, I picked up a guitar and started to teach myself how to play the guitar… I’d practice every night for two hours, I write the chords out on a piece of paper and have it next to me while I practiced song after song…from there I wrote my first song… I then learned how to play piano in two weeks, so I could fill in for Sally in a restaurant… you see, I exercised my gifts and they were multiplied.
It reminds me of the parable in Matthew 25:14-27
14 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. 15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. 16 Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. 17 And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. 18 But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.
20 “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ 21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ 22 He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ 23 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’
24 “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’
26 “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. 27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. 28 Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.
Don’t ever think that your gift or talent isn’t good enough or you’re not good enough.
We need to believe in each other… if you see someone with a special talent or gift, encourage them…sure sometimes, they/me/we are going to get it wrong… but let’s stand together.
I remember learning to play the drums and I had a lady come up to me at the end of the service – and God had moved during the worship – and it was the first time that I’d led out on the drums… and this lady came up to me and said “you killed it when you started hitting the drums, I hope you never play again”… and I was devastated… and a few years later, I had the opportunity to play drums again, and I remember Ps. Ben coming over to me and he encouraged me and prayed with me and I’ll never forget his impartation to me… you see, that’s what made me want to play and try again…
So please…use your gift, your talent, don’t hide it under the bushel but shine it out. You might be the only song that someone hears…
GOD CAN TAKE WHAT’S IN YOUR HAND, TO FULFIL WHAT’S IN YOUR HEART
James 1:17 NKJV– 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.