I'm one of the most forgetful people you'll meet.
After a couple of years in full-time ministry, it didn't take much for me to see how often I lose documents, don't call people back, or fail to follow up with someone.
But where I'm learning more about where I'm lacking, I'm growing into my knowledge of my gifts. While I'm unorganized, I'm able to sit down and counsel or advise students one-on-one. Although my strength is not in leading games or activities, I'm stronger in writing and speaking to students about Jesus. It's through all this that I'm learning more and more how intricately God has gifted not only myself, but the entire church.
The Apostle Paul describes the Church in 1 Corinthians 12 as the "body of Christ." Just like someone's body has different parts that work together, we're all gifted differently, but those gifts are used to serve and glorify the same Lord.
It would be hard for us to read 1 Corinthians 12 and disagree that God is the GIVER of these gifts. But while I've seen many people grow into their gifts, I've come to realize that it's possible to waste our gifts on ourselves.
If we pay close attention to scripture, we see that while God loves us, is for us, and gives to us, His ultimate and overarching goal through it all is the glorification and fame of His name. It's EVERYWHERE in the Bible.
God has called us to tell others about what He has done so that we bring GLORY TO HIS NAME (Romans 1:5).
We're commanded to do what is right and be used as an instrument FOR THE GLORY OF GOD (Romans 6:13).
God created His sons and daughters FOR HIS GLORY (Isaiah 43:6-7).
Jesus commands us to do good works so that others will PRAISE AND GLORIFY GOD (Matthew 5:16).
We're even called to BRING GLORY TO GOD through the small, daily routines of life (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Tracking with the theme yet?
Everything that God is doing in us, through us, and around us is all so that we can catch a glimpse of HIM. So that others see HIS greatness and not our own. It's more about HIM, and less about us.
Our tendency is to seek the praise of others in the environments where our gifts are displayed. We all love a good pat on the back, a word of affirmation, or a "good job, buddy." The approval and praise of others can be intoxicating. But are you using your gifts with the hope that HE receives the glory? Or are you after your own?
Our gifts weren't given to us so that we would be praised by others. They weren't even given to us so that we would receive praise from God! God's affirmation and approval of us can be found in the cross of Christ. Our gifts were given so that the power, wonder, and greatness of God can be revealed through the weak. Through the broken. Through the humble. Our gifts were given not for us to seek our own fame, but to be after HIS.
As for today, choose to make Him famous.
• Colin Noonan uses his gifts to make Jesus famous as the youth director at Mountain View Lutheran Church. Keep the discussion going with him at firstname.lastname@example.org.