Everybody gets a gift. And these gifts come in different doses and combinations. “Each person is given something to do that shows who God is” (1 Cor. 12:7 MSG).
Our inheritance is grace based and equal. But our assignments are tailor-made. No two snowflakes are the same. No two fingerprints are the same. Why would two skill sets be the same? No wonder Paul said, “Make sure you understand what the Master wants” (Eph. 5:17 MSG).
Do you understand what your Master wants? Do you know what makes you, you? Have you identified the features that distinguish you from every other human who has inhaled oxygen?
You have “acreage” to develop, a lot in life. So “make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that” (Gal. 6:4 MSG).
You be you. No one else is like you. Imagine a classroom of kids on a given day in a given school. Ten of the twenty-five students are fighting to stay awake. Ten others are alert but ready to leave. Five students are not only awake and alert, but they don’t want the class to end. They even do odd things like extra homework or tutoring. What class was that intriguing to you?
“If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies” (1 Peter 4:11). Ability reveals destiny. What is your ability? What do you do well? What do people ask you to do again? What task comes easily? What topic keeps your attention?
Your skill set is your road map. It leads you to your territory. Take note of your strengths. They are breadcrumbs that will lead you out of the wilderness. God loves you too much to give you a job and not the skills. Identify yours.
What you do for a living should conform to your design. Few situations are more miserable than a job misfit. Yet few maladies are more common. One study stated that only 13 percent of all workers find their work truly meaningful. No wonder commuters look so grumpy. Nearly nine out of ten of them don’t want to go to work. Imagine the impact this unhappiness has on health, family, and performance. If a person spends forty or more hours a week plodding through a job he or she does not like or care about, what happens?
Find something you like to do, and do it so well that people pay you to do it. For twenty years I was the senior minister of our church. I was in the thick of it all: budgets, personnel issues, buildings, hiring, and firing. I was happy to fill the role. But I was happiest preaching and writing. My mind was always gravitating toward the next sermon, the next series. Even during committee meetings, especially during committee meetings, I was doodling on the next message.
As the church increased in number, so did the staff. More staff meant more people to manage. More people to manage meant spending more time doing what I didn’t feel called to do. I was gradually becoming one of the grumpy 87 percent.
I was blessed to have options. I was equally blessed to have a church that provided flexibility. I transitioned from senior minister to teaching minister. When I became teaching minister, a few people were puzzled. “Don’t you miss being the senior minister?” Translation: Weren’t you demoted? Earlier in my life I would have thought so. But I have come to see God’s definition of promotion: a promotion is not a move up the ladder; it is a move toward your call. Don’t let someone “promote” you out of your call.
Look for ways to align your job with your skills. This may take time. This may take several conversations with your boss. This may take trial and error… but don’t give up. Not every tuba player has the skills to direct the orchestra. If you can, then do. If you can’t, then blast away on your tuba with delight.