“Have you ever had someone say to you ‘Thank you so much’ and your response was ‘But I didn’t do anything’? … People will be healed by God through you just being and doing what God meant you to be and do, not by all the things you think you should be and do to benefit the world.” – Robin Chaddock (Discovering Your Divine Assignment)
Being able to recognise and purposefully use one’s Abilities (read: super powers!) is a key part in finding one’s calling. So this week on the series as we explore the A. in S.H.A.P.E., I urge you to take a few moments to intentionally think about what you love doing, the tasks you feel most confident when performing and this will hopefully help you discover very specific ways you can use your talents and abilities to the benefit of not just yourself but others. Erik Rees says “God wants one fact to hit home with us: He “has given each of us the ability to do certain things well” (Romans 12:6a NLT).
A good starting point would be to conduct an Abilities Check.
If you already know most of your abilities in a clearly defined way, then skip to the how exactly does it all fit into God’s bigger picture? section below.
For those who would like a bit more structure to guide their thought process, do the following:
- Review this [not exhaustive] list of fifty specialised abilities. If you have an ability that is not listed, you can of course include it in your review.
- For each ability, you want to rank yourself according to whether you:
- Love It!: You just can’t imagine your life without these and they make your day complete, bringing much fulfilment! If you had the choice, you’d probably do this full-time. The abilities indicate the way you’re most likely to meet the needs of the people group you would have previously identified in “Know The Needs You Will Meet” passion principle.
- Like It!: You enjoy doing these activities but you don’t need to perform them regularly in order to feel satisfied. Your attitude is very much “take it or leave it”, with these.
- can Live Without! it: Your immediate response when faced with having to employ these abilities is is just, “NOPE!” If you have to carry tasks out that frequently use these abilities, you’d feel very drained. So even though you may well be able to perform them, you have little or no desire to do them.
3. Once you’ve ranked all the abilities, go back and pick the top 5 that are MOST like you right now.
For me, my top 5 abilities would have to be (in alphabetical order):
- Communicating – ability to share, convey, impart (Love It!)
- Implementing – ability to apply, execute, make happen (Love It!)
- Improving – ability to better, enhance, further, enrich (Love It!)
- Pioneering – ability to bring out something new, ground breaking, original (Love It!)
- Strategising – ability to think ahead, calculate, scheme (Love It!)
Now that I am clearer about my [top] abilities, how exactly does it all fit into God’s bigger picture?
6 Ways my abilities are to be used are:
- To honour God: “…whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians chapter 10 verse 31 NIV). We are created in the image of God and when we place value on the natural abilities He has given us by virtue of the beneficial way we use it, we actually bring glory to Him and therefore honour Him for who he truly is – a God that made such an amazing being as yourself. One quote that comes to mind is from Eric Liddell who said “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast! And when I run I feel his pleasure.”
- To serve others: “God has given each of you some special abilities; be sure to use them to help each other, passing on to others God’s many kinds of blessings.” (1 Peter chapter 4 verse 10 LB). Every good thing we have was never intended by God to be used for our selfish desires but rather to model the heart of God towards people. When you serve others by using your abilities to make their lives better even in the smallest way, you show them a glimpse of God – and you may very well be the only Bible some people ever read!
- To make a living: “But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth…” (Deuteronomy chapter 8 verse 18 NIV). God does not want us to be burdens to other people and the Bible is full of verses promoting the benefit of work and being fruitful in our endeavours. So whatever abilities we have, we should be able to monetise them if we are meeting the needs of others with said abilities.
In the same vein, the money you make is to be shared with those who are less able to make a living for themselves. “Give freely and spontaneously. Don’t have a stingy heart. The way you handle matters like this triggers God, your God’s, blessing in everything you do, all your work and ventures. There are always going to be poor and needy people among you. So I command you: Always be generous, open purse and hands, give to your neighbors in trouble, your poor and hurting neighbors.” (Deuteronomy chapter 15 verses 10 to 11 MSG).
- To be an example to others: “Put these abilities to work; throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone may notice your improvement and progress.” (1 Timothy chapter 4 verse 15 LB). If you’re using abilities and being fruitful in your endeavours as a result, others will see the benefits of using one’s abilities. If they use their abilities because of the example you set, it sets off a domino effect whereby they bring glory and honour to God by using what He has blessed them with too.
- To build up the church: “Why is it that he gives us these special abilities to do certain things best? It is that God’s people will be equipped to do better work for him, building up the Church, the body of Christ, to a position of strength and maturity;” (Ephesians chapter 4 verse 12 TLB). Read the [btn text=”Spiritual Gifts” tcolor=#800000 thovercolor=#800000 link=”http://www.stephfaithfully.com/2016/09/uncovering-my-calling-with-s-h-a-p-e-week-1-discovering-my-spiritual-gifts-1/” target=”_blank”] posts to support this point.
Knowing what our abilities are to be used for is one thing but not using them at all, in any capacity or form is never the ideal: “For to everyone who has [and values his blessings and gifts from God, and has used them wisely], more will be given, and [he will be richly supplied so that] he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have [because he has ignored or disregarded his blessings and gifts from God], even what he does have will be taken away.” (Matthew chapter 25 verse 29 AMP).
So how do I ensure my abilities will not be “taken away”?
- Estimate!: “Don’t cherish exaggerated ideas of yourself or your importance, but try to have a sane estimate of your capabilities by the light of the faith that God has given to you all.” (Romans chapter 12 verse 3 PHILLIPS). Take an audit of them (see Abilities Check above)! If you are serious about finding and living out your calling then it is important to know what your strengths are. You’re not even yet aware of ALL your abilities and you have far more than you think you currently have, so be sure to keep taking stock every so often.
- Dedicate!: “So then, my friends, because of God’s great mercy to us I appeal to you: Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him. This is the true worship that you should offer.” (Romans chapter 12 verse 1 GNT). If you really want to get far with your calling, then you need to give your abilities back to God for His intended use. This isn’t just for ministry work but for the real difference you can make for others in your career, your business, family, relationships, community etc.
- Cultivate them!: “If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success.” (Ecclesiastes chapter 10 verse 10 NIV). If you’re going to be successful, it will be driven by your skills (abilities) and skills are improved by consistent practice. God has made an incredible investment in each and every one of our lives and He certainly expects a return on His investment. Let us strive to improve and cultivate our abilities in a way that shows we’re ready to move on to bigger and better!
Lastly I leave you with this:
“The abilities you do have are a strong indication of what God wants you to do with your life. They are clues to knowing God’s will for you…. God doesn’t waste abilities; he matches our calling and our capabilities.” – Rick Warren (Purpose Driven Life)
God is able and He makes you able,