By David Kennedy l Senior Pastor
“What God made you to be determines what God intends for you to do.”
Did you know that God has been molding and shaping you for ministry/service all your life? This “shaping” actually began even before you were born! This past Sunday we learned that God has shaped each of us for a purpose.
SHAPE stands for:
The Bible teaches that God gives every believer certain spiritual gifts to be used in ministry (1 Cor. 12, Rom. 8, Eph. 4). However, I believe spiritual gifts are only one part of the picture. Many times spiritual gifts are often overemphasized to the neglect of other equally important factors such as the natural abilities that you were born with which came from God. So do your experiences and inborn personality traits. Your Creator planned each of these things. Let’s briefly look at them again.
The Bible uses the term “heart” to represent the center of your motivation, desires, interests, and inclinations. Your heart determines why you say the things you do (Matt. 12:34), why you feel the way you do (Ps. 34:7), and why you act the way you do (Pr. 4:23). Physiologically, each of us has a unique heartbeat. Each person has a slightly different pattern. Likewise, God has given each of us a unique emotional “heartbeat” that races when we encounter activities, subjects, or circumstances that interest us. Another word for heart is passion. There are certain subjects that you feel passionate about and others that you couldn’t care less about. God had a purpose in giving you your inborn interests. Your emotional heartbeat reveals a very important key to understanding his intentions for your life. Don’t ignore your natural interests. People rarely excel at tasks they don’t enjoy doing.
These are the natural talents that you were born with. Some people have a natural ability with words. They came out of the womb talking! Others are naturally good with numbers. They think mathematically and they can’t understand why you don’t understand calculus. Exodus 31:3 gives an example of how God gives people “skill, ability, and knowledge in all kinds of crafts ….” in order to accomplish his purposes. In this case, it was artistic ability that was used in building the Tabernacle. It’s interesting to me that musical talent is not listed as a “spiritual gift,” but it certainly is a natural ability that God uses in worship. There are people in our church with all kinds of abilities that are not being put to use: recruiting, researching, writing, landscaping, interviewing, promoting, decorating, planning, entertaining, repairing, drawing, and even cooking. These abilities should not be wasted. “There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.” (1 Cor. 12:5)
It’s obvious that God did not use a cookie cutter to create people. He made introverts and extroverts. He made people who love routine and those who love variety. Some people work best when given an individual assignment while others work better with a team. There is no “right” or “wrong” temperament for ministry. We need all kinds of personalities to balance the church and give it flavor. The world would be a very boring place if we were all plain vanilla. Fortunately, ministry comes in more than 31 flavors. Your personality will affect how and where you use your spiritual gifts and abilities. For instance, two people may have the same gift of evangelism, but if one is introverted and the other is extroverted, that gift will be expressed in different ways. When you minister in a manner that is consistent with the personality God gave you, you will experience fulfillment, satisfaction, and fruitfulness. It feels good when you do exactly what God made you to do.
God never wastes an experience. Romans 8:28 reminds us, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Educational experiences, vocational experiences, spiritual experiences, family experiences, and even painful experiences have shaped who you are today. God’s sovereignty knew what your life would look like and He determined your shape for his purpose. Instead of trying to reshape ourselves to be like someone else, we should celebrate the shape God has given to each of us.
Wise stewardship of your life begins by understanding your shape. You will be the most effective and fulfilled in your service to God when you use your spiritual gifts and abilities in the area of your heart’s desire and in a way that best expresses your personality and experiences. If you need some help figuring this out, please contact us and we will help you find your SHAPE.