Friday, November 18, 2022

Devotionals for the Heart: How to discover the gifts God gave to you

Finding Your Sacred Trust
A devotional by Sharon Musgrove

“Yet preaching the Good News is not something I can boast about. I am compelled by God to do it. How terrible for me if I didn’t preach the Good News! If I were doing this on my own initiative, I would deserve payment. But I have no choice, for God has given me this sacred trust.” –1 Corinthians 9:16-17 NLT

The last three years have brought great personal change in my life (retirement, children moving away, purchasing vacation property, parents dying, and loss of church community).

I’ve found myself feeling purposeless and unfocused. It reminded me of my early college years when I was expected to know what I was moving toward, but no job title motivated. This time I spent long hours “discovering myself” as a means of determining what special gift God might want to develop in me. I’ve been asking, “Lord, what do you want of me now?”

Have you wondered what specific role God envisioned when He mixed your DNA?

Two years ago, I was studying the spiritual gifts in Ephesians 4:11 (NLT): “Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.” I defined these five titles and tried to pinpoint which one my 40 years of Christian experience qualified me for. Over the next twenty-four months I took personality tests. I participated in Zoom trainings on finding my unique design. I scoured the Bible, prayed, journaled, read books, and counseled with trusted friends and a therapist. All those insights were helpful in inching toward what was more “me”, but none of it was feet on the ground action.

I wanted to get there already!

And then, I began yet another Bible study. As I worked my way through the early chapters of 1 Corinthians, my peripheral vision picked up on the upcoming chapter on spiritual gifts. Was I wandering around the same mountain?

But here the Apostle Paul’s words about preaching in 1 Corinthians 9:16 stuck out to me as if in a bold font. The text reads, “I am compelled by God to do it.” A new question hit me: What is the thing I have been doing all my life that I must still do?

Suddenly, it was clear that I had already been in the habit of serving in my designated duty! It was so simple, going unnoticed, because I so easily answer “yes” when the requests come around. In fact, I seek out opportunities to do it.

God has given me the sacred trust of hosting people in need in my home.

Looking back over three decades of marriage, my husband and I have housed some 16 households (from singles to families) for lengthy periods of time. In 2020, we purchased a vacation home with the intent of gifting it to weary Christians who need replenishment. This year we added a third location.

How had I missed hospitality as being my special gift?

Honestly, my propensity for black and white thinking gets in the way too often. Without an official “Shepherd” placard for the wall, I couldn’t see the connection. And church culture can sometimes suggest that volunteer roles are the only way a Christian behaves. Shuttling newcomers through entry level services, like greeting or serving coffee, can keep them from developing into their full potential. But only within the walls of the church building. God, however, will never leave an eager believer stunted in spiritual growth. He will produce fruit in the lives of His children even when we don’t count it as such.

If you are as confused as I had been, let Paul’s passion help you think outside the box of Christian service. Do not think for one moment that God has passed you by on a special sacred trust! He has a compelling gift for others that comes through you!

God uses your heart and talents to serve Him by serving other people.

Let’s Pray:

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for creating each one of us perfectly and for a special purpose in Your Kingdom! We know that You have implanted desires in the hearts of every individual and that we can follow this sacred trust. Reveal this unique service to each person who asks. 

In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Author Bio:

Sharon Musgrove is a self-proclaimed sociologist. The opportunities opened to her, over the years, have led her on a fascinating journey observing human behavior.

She has a diverse background in business, fitness, and health industries. This background led her to a unique position writing curriculum and teaching for two private, Christ-based, residential recovery programs. Both programs primarily served women in the homeless community.

Sharon has traveled multiple times to Kenya, serving on medical teams and teaching in the rural Maasai communities. She’s been privileged to participate in Leadership camps for maturing young women. These annual camps have a mission of encouraging and empowering the impoverished, underprivileged, and often abused young Maasai girls.

Identifying personally with the brokenness of the women she’s served, Sharon sees all people as needing more encouragement regardless of cultural or socioeconomic status. Within these ministries, Sharon has witnessed the transformative power of loving words spoken to the broken-hearted. Sharing God’s love and witnessing its transformative power has become her passion.

In her leisure time, Sharon enjoys her garden, health food, travel, and a good story. She and her husband, Jeff, divide their time between Oregon and Hawaii. They have two grown children. Currently, Sharon is encouraging others via her inspirational blog, but prefers sharing face to face. Additionally, she is studying Christian fiction writing.

Connect with Sharon:

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