“Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid hands on you.” (1 Timothy 4:14)
It is so easy to let distractions and discouragement lead us away from pursuing what God has given us. In this passage, Paul is urging Timothy to stay strong in the gift God has given him – in this case as a church leader and a missionary. I can imagine Timothy being discouraged that his leadership was being questioned because of his youth or he felt inadequate for the job ahead of him. How do we stay faithful in our gifts, especially when life starts looking different than we expected?
My gifts are hospitality and shepherding. I love hosting dinner parties and leading bible studies (and not just because it forces me to keep my house clean). During the past 18 months, both of these have been challenging. During the last ski season, my local resort had signs about riding the chair with who you rode to the ski hill with. As our ski hill mainly has old school doubles, and as a family of three, I had a lot of lonely lift rides. I felt a little discouraged and “misplaced” that I was not using my gifts in the way I expected, as the pandemic caused me to re-evaluate how I view “hospitality” and how I could still encourage my friends to grow in faith without consistently meeting together (because who really wants to get on yet another web meeting). Then I remember one of my favorite verses: “Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed” (1 Cor 1:7). I am not lacking in my gifts, I just need to refocus.
One outlet I found was a morning skin – I had a handful of friends that would skin uphill before work once a week. The majority of these friends don’t follow Jesus, but I made it a point to listen to a favorite faith podcast on the drive up (since I was alone in my car), and bring up interesting tidbits that I may have learned. As the season progressed, our conversations grew deeper, and a few times even all listened to the same podcast on the drive so we could discuss the ideas together (call out to Kate Bowler/Everything Happens Podcast!).
I may have forgotten how to clean my house, but hospitality can be as simple as inviting someone on a morning ski (or bike ride as the summer months dictate), and making them feel loved. And you don’t have to sit in a circle on a couch to encourage and help someone grow in faith. I look forward to this winter and more morning skins and developing friendships that will lead to growth and hopefully to Jesus.
- With the ski season ahead, what are some ways you can use your gifts in a new way?
- Read Romans 12:3-8, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4:7-13. Sometimes God gives us a gift/skill for a specific time and purpose. Reflect on the way God uses different gifts through you at different times.
By Jessica Downing | Salida, CO