The Bible teaches that each of us has received a gift with which we are to serve others. Why, then, are the proverbial 20 percent (according to the Pareto Principle) doing all the work? When talents are (kept) hidden, Pareto rears his head.
The “Not Me” Trap (or: I am too busy, weak, poor, young, old … to serve anyone.)
You may think that you did not receive any talents from God. Yet 1 Peter 4:10 teaches that “each of you” should be using “whatever gift you have received” to serve others. The implication is clear. Everyone got a gift. What you do with it is up to you. Just remember that discipleship is not a spectator sport. It is a lifestyle. Jesus did not tell 20 percent of his disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations.” He addressed them all.
The “I Don’t Have a Useful Gift” Misconception (or: What can I do that someone else couldn’t do better?)
If we accept that everyone has received a gift of some kind, why not dig a bit deeper to find out what it is? What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing? What is your favorite hobby? If you are a great cook, then your gift might be offering hospitality. If you love to sing, you may be a budding song leader or children’s ministry worker.
Consider the ease with which teen disciple Julia Cochran has little kids eating out of her hand and following her like a row of ducklings the mother duck. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out what her gift is. Look at tireless teen worker Soma Leio; when he enters a room, folks immediately brighten up. He clearly has the gift of encouragement.
What if I Mess Up?
Do you remember the famed chef Julia Child? On her television program, she once flipped a potato pancake that did not land back in the pan but onto a table. Looking straight at the camera, Child simply ordered, “You just scoop it back into the pan. Remember, you are alone in the kitchen and nobody can see you.” The same is true for making mistakes. Everyone does. Even a famous TV chef. Move on.
How do I Explore my Talents?
Write a list of things that you are good at doing or enjoy doing. Next, think about how these things could translate into serving the Kingdom, God, disciples and everyone else. If you love to crochet, there is probably an expectant mom who would love a crochet teddy bear blanket for her baby. Talk to your discipleship partner for some input. Next, remember to visit the volunteer table for some further suggestions. Try out different opportunities. You are bound to find something that will work.