God has blessed the church with an abundance of gifts and talents and it’s so beautiful to see these gifts flourish and bless lives as they are harnessed, developed and expressed.
” He handed out gifts above and below, filled heaven with his gifts, filled earth with his gifts. He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christ’s followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body, the church, until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.”
Eph 4:11-13 (MSG)
God made it a point to bless his children with all manner of gifts and there are various expressions of these gifts; some are expressed through the arts, some are expressed through sciences, some are expressed directly in church ministry and some are even expressed in political governance. Bottom line, is all these gifts come from God and we should be thankful for them and not stifle them.
Someone i recently met, said she would be leaving her present church because her and her husband believed that their unique gifts were being stifled and denied of expression. I was sad but i understood where she was coming from. I have also been in a place where i saw so many young talented people leave because they were denied expression.
I have seen a lot of gifted people get sidelined and denied opportunities to use their God given gifts and talents in the church because of doctrinal restrictions, church politics and man-made rules and traditions. It can be quite frustrating because there is a fire that has been ignited within that needs to be given the room to burn.
Is leaving the church the answer though?
I think not.
I believe there is a place of incubation, of learning and of preparation. There is a process. That you are gifted does not mean you are ready. David was anointed to be king by the prophet Samuel as a young man but he didn’t ascend the throne immediately. Actually, he went back to his day job of tending sheep; and even after killing the giant Goliath, he still did not become King. he went through a process.
Jesus was born as God’s son but he was 30 years old before his ministry launched.
Recognize your place and time of incubation. God has a way of incubating and preparing his vessels. rather than worrying about not been recognized and given space to express your gifts, why not serve in the place where you are right now and spend time working on yourself ? A talented and gifted man/woman without strength of character will not be beneficial to God or anyone else for that matter.
God might be keeping you hidden because he needs to groom you and get your ready. In Acts 18:24-28, we learned about Apollo, an educated and fiery preacher who was inspired and gifted to preach but was half-baked in his theology. Pricilla and her husband Aquilla had to call him aside to teach him properly. (That’s what happens when you launch into ministry unprepared)
Another thing that might be keeping you miserable where you are, is the need for approval. I’ve seen so many gifted people in church play to the gallery. Playing petty church politics, working hard to be noticed by the head pastor, and anyone they think might give them a leg up.
Attitude like that is not why God gave you that amazing gift you have. your gift and calling was not given to you so that you can be admired and become a celebrity minister. It’s given to glorify God and God alone. If you have to play politics to be noticed and approved and put in front, then the expression of your gifts has become selfish and is no longer a blessing to you.
“Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding.”
Matt 6:1 (MSG)
When you become so concerned about people noticing the expression of your gifts and desire their admiration and applause, then you need to take a step back and redirect your attention towards the giver of the gift. Let him chart the course of your gift. let him direct you where, when and how to use it.
You do not need your pastor’s validation and approval to boost your confidence or put a stamp of endorsement on your gift. Recognize that God blessed you with it and submit it back to him so he can use it through you.
Rather than leave your church because you feel your gift is being stifled, pay attention to where you are at the moment, if you’re in a church volunteer group or department, serve there faithfully. Use your gifts right where you are. You do not need to be in front or be recognized by the whole church to be effective. Do what you have been called to do right where you are. in your neighborhood, within your online community, in your circle of friends, wherever you find yourself, there is room for expression. Ask God everyday to open doors of opportunity to be of service and watch how things will unfold beautifully.
Divorce yourself of these thoughts of not being recognized. The only one who matters have called you and placed you on a pedestal as a shining light. Go ahead and brighten your corner of the room.
Matt 5:14-16 (MSG)
“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”