Thursday, February 21, 2013

Are You Fulfilling God's Purpose?

I've been struggling lately with my purpose. Yes, I'm married with 3 kids, so undoubtedly I have a purpose or two.

But what about my purpose within the context of the Church? 
What else can I do to be useful? 
How can I be the hands and feet of Jesus? 
What can I do that will matter eternally? 

Earlier this week I asked the question: "Why do you go to church?" and shared how my reasons have metamorphosed over time. 

Today I want to continue that thought and consider our purpose within the Church because we all have a part to play, a role to fill, a job to do, in order to make the body of Christ function like a well-oiled machine.

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
 Ephesians 2:10

First, though, we need to know what our gifts are.

luiz oliveira
Photo Credit: lunatico photos


Spiritual Gifts

Through the Holy Spirit and God's grace, we have been entrusted with spiritual gifts that we are expected to use to build up the Church.

Some of these spiritual gifts include the following, taken from Romans 12:6-8:

  • Prophesying {preaching God's message, see also I Corinthians 14:1-3}
  • Serving
  • Teaching
  • Encouraging
  • Contributing to the needs of others
  • Leadership
  • Showing mercy

As a young adult, I took a spiritual gifts inventory at my church that really impacted my work in the church. This online Spiritual Gifts Test for Adults is very good at helping you determine your own spiritual gifts as is LifeWay's Spiritual Gifts Survey. The survey revealed that I am gifted in the areas of discernment, teaching, and organization/administration. However, be sure to ask God for wisdom and guidance in this endeavor.

For more on spiritual gifts, read 1 Corinthians 12

Photo Credit: Ben Sutherland

Talents & Abilities

In addition to spiritual gifts, God also gives each of us specific and unique talents that He expects us to use to further His kingdom. 

For me, that talent is the ability to write. I feel called by God to write to teach, encourage, even evangelize to the world. If I am not using my talent or if I'm using it in a way displeasing to God, then I believe that I am sinning. 

Everyone has a talent or two that can be used to achieve God's purpose. Perhaps you have a skill in communicating, singing, working with small children or teens, drawing, playing music, cooking, or decorating. All of these talents (yes, even decorating) can be used for God's glory.

Whatever your talent or ability, it's important to recognize that it comes from God and that He expects you to use it for His glory. 

Autumn Colors
Photo Credit: ZionNPS

Living Out God's Purpose in Different Seasons 

As you go through different seasons in your life, you still have a responsibility to use your gifts and abilities to build up the Church, but the way in which you use them may change considerably.

Over the years and throughout the different seasons in my life, I have had to use my gifts and talents differently. For example, before having kids, I taught Bible class to children on a regular basis. However, once I started having my own kids, I stopped teaching at church because of my responsibilities to my babies.

However, no matter the season you're in, we are all expected to work. Caring for children is not an excuse for not working and using your spiritual gifts and talents. In fact, I think if you see your children as a mission field, you can achieve a lot for the body of Christ by teaching and nurturing them at home. 

Maybe you stop using your primary gift all together and start using a lesser one. Or perhaps you find a different way to use your spiritual gift or ability that is more conducive to the season you're in at the moment.

And when this season ends and my children are older, I hope that I will once again teach Bible class at church.

as if streaming from the sun
Photo Credit: PurdueBob


What Are You Doing?

Do you know what your spiritual gifts and talents are? 

If not, I encourage you to study the scriptures and pray. Ask God for wisdom. He will direct you to where you need to go. 

If you do know, then are you being useful to the body of Christ, or have you been sitting on your laurels waiting for an opportunity or for someone to ask you to get involved? 

Now is the time to work! 

58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
I Corinthians 15:58

As we pursue God's purpose in each of our lives, I pray we will do so in love and humility, working for His glory and not our own.

Blessings to you,

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  1. I needed that today. I feel like I'm really at a loss at to what I'm supposed to be doing. I'm feeling quite low right now as I feel like I could go 100 directions, but don't know which one to take!

    1. Desiree, I'm sorry you are feeling this way. It is hard to know for sure which direction to take, but I believe if you pray and trust God then He, through the Holy Spirit, will guide you where you need to go. I can totally relate. I have this burning desire to do something more in me that I believe is from the Holy Spirit, but I don't know what exactly it is. We just have to trust and pray. He will make it known in His time.

      I will be praying for you.

  2. Keri, this is the best thing I've read all week. So helpful and just what I needed. I struggle to know my gifts, though I have an idea, but I sometimes feel so guilty because I am very involved at home with my children and family instead of at the church. I know I am doing an important work though and like you, when my kids are older I plan to get more involved again.

    1. Thank you, Del.

      I don't want you to feel guilty at all! You shouldn't. You are totally doing a good work in ministering to your children: they are your mission field right now for sure. So, don't let what I wrote guilt you!

      My point is that we all have gifts and talents that we can use, I believe, in at least some small way to further the kingdom. Right now, in this season of babies and little people to tend to, we might be limited from doing exactly what God had before kids called us to do. But that doesn't mean we stop all together. We just have to make modifications, do something else, or find a way to keep working. If we pray and believe, He will make it known to us. And, as you said, in time, we may able to actively participate in the work we once did.

      Please don't think I'm trying to guilt anyone because Lord knows that I need this post as much as you or anyone else.

      Blessings to you!

  3. It is so good to search for God's direction in these things! Sometimes He may lead us moms of littles to take on extra ministry responsibilities outside the home and they can be a great way to serve as well as tools for teaching our children.

    However, I want to throw something into the conversation based on my own experience as a type A get-er-done sort of gal - not at all implying that it's directed at Keri!

    We need to remember that our kids and husband ARE the church! Family and mothering have tremendous eternal value and can often be harder than outside ministry! God may convict us individually to serve in some other way, or perhaps to do so as a family. But our purpose is to give God glory in our current phase of life with all the gifts, talents, and resources He has given us.

    More often than not, I think, we feel an unnecessary guilt to do more outside the home when our plate is overflowing with responsibilities IN the home that are far more important, even if we don't see it that way with our world-tinted eyes. DO NOT feel guilty if you are led to focus on your family as your primary ministry. Before long, that time will have passed and God will put other things before you.

    The key, as Keri is always quick to point out, is to seek God's direction for you.