Adapted from the, “Discovering God’s Vision
For Your Life, You and Your Spiritual Gifts.”
By Kenneth C. Haugk.
Part 4 of 4.
Unfortunately, there is no audio or video associated with this sermon.
1 Corinthians 1:26-30
Module 7 Your Calling
The Ministry of Every Christian
The root of the English word vocation is the Latin vocare, which means “to call.” This concept of vocation flows out of the medieval view that a person’s work flows out of his or her place in the divine scheme of things. No matter the occupation, the activities they did were fulfilling God’s call to them. Since their calling was from God, what they did in life had both dignity and purpose. Something that we may have lost these days.
As you can see, vocation is far more comprehensive then “Work, Occupation, Job or Career.” Through vocation, there is meaning, meaning through God’s calling of you.
The greatest challenge for any Christian is to place of his or her life under Christ’s claim. However, this can be fostered by ministering in the church, through the church and outside the church. In other words, in one’s daily life. All ministries, whether inside or outside of the church, are necessary and important.
Ministry vs. Volunteerism
There is a great deal of good done through the workforce of volunteers. The world benefits significantly. Both the volunteer and the ones on the receiving side of the volunteer, benefit. Is volunteerism the right word to describe the work that happens in the church? Most certainly not. Sure, Christians do unpaid service but beyond that, any resemblance to volunteerism ends.
Looking through the lenses of biblical theology of ministry and calling, there are no “volunteers.” All are ministers. That right there is significant. When Christians, you and I, truly believe in our hearts that are ministering, it changes the way we regard ourselves. It also changes the way we think about those we serve and those who serve us.
Spiritual Gifts and Burnout Prevention
The term “burnout” actually goes back to the 1940’s and was first used to describe the condition of a jet engine shutting down. Later, it became to known as a rocket engine that had consumed all its fuel, and simply shuts off.
Today we associate it as a metaphor for people “shutting down.” Burnout has a sense of being used up, emptied and being ready to quit or to be discarded. I am sure no one here has ever experienced that before. Yea, I bet a lot of us have.
When we speak of spiritual gifts, they are not associated with burnout. Here is why I tell you this. One major cause of burnout is being continually involved in activities that do not use our gifts. Hear me again, one major cause of burnout is being continually involved in activities that do not use our gifts. Experts in the field have said that many instances of burnout, actually stem from boredom. Here’s the thing though. If you are using your spiritual gifts, the gifts given to you by the Spirit, then you will not be bored. Note, I said your spiritual gifts, not someone else’s gifts but your own. Being who God meant you to be, will not be boring.
Let me tell you about the Parable of the Carburetor.
Once upon a time the one-millionth Ford Mustang carburetor came off the production line, had its picture taken (gleaming metal, functional, burnished) and was seized by the Vice President in charge of Production for display in his office. There it sat for three years. Vice presidents at Ford come and go. This one went. The new vice president found a new purpose for the carburetor. He put it in a closet. Five years later, when the offices were being redecorated, it was shuffled off to the basement storage area. Ten years after that, when the basement was being cleaned, it was carted off to a junkyard where it languished for five more years.
Then a man restoring a Mustang happened along, wondering whether the junkman might have any parts. The carburetor was unearthed, the man installed it in his restored car, and started the engine.
The environment was hot and noisy, full of flame and controlled explosions and oil and grease and dirt and racket.
The carburetor was in heaven.
For the first time, the carburetor was using its gift. It was doing what it was supposed to.
What is the moral of the story? Using your spiritual gift may look like hard work to those on the outside, but if you’re on the inside doing it, if feels like heaven.
This parable has many implications for our involvement in the church, and virtually any other aspect of our lives. When we are involved in our gifts areas, we are much less likely to burn out. Sure, we may get tired at times, but this can be a healthy tired, which differs greatly from burnout.
We all have responsibilities that we must carry out. Just because an area of responsibility does not fall within our spiritual gifts, does not mean we should shirk our responsibilities. But any other activities outside of the things we MUST do, we should look at what our spiritual gifts are and use them, so we do not burnout.
Deploying your Gifts
The Bible clearly tells us that every member of the body of Christ, is gifted. Even more important is how to put them into practice. To do so, there needs to be an intentional discovery, development and deployment, so they can have the most impact.
God’s Will for Your Life
The best way to develop a “Christian job description” is to explore your spiritual gifts. When we do this intentionally, the process is wrapped in prayer. I wish I could say I had a good prayer life, I don’t. In fact, when in seminary, I found that most of the pastors in seminary and outside, did not have a good sense of spiritual practices, aka prayer life. Our synod is offering a very inexpensive opportunity to explore spiritual practices. I announced this in a newsletter article and it is also in the welcome center. Along with some prayer practices.
Spiritual Gifts and Your Life’s Work
Spiritual gifts have an impact outside of the church. They impact our lives and our work. It doesn’t matter what kind of work you do, there is always opportunities to use some of our spiritual gifts in our work, family and in our leisure time.
Don’t quickly assume that your spiritual gifts cannot be used in your current job. Think upon your gifts and your current job. Pray upon the use of your gifts and see where you are directed. The important thing is to be open to where God is taking you.
Module 8 God’s Vision and Your Vision, Coming Together
The Power of Vision
Just what is your vision for your life? To have a clear vision, you need to have a clear vision of your spiritual gifts. We need to understand the spiritual gifts so they can inform us in the directions we can focus our lives. Through that, we can move in the direction of a clear vision for our lives.
When your vision for your life and ministry is informed by your spiritual gifts, then we see the merger of God’s vision and Your Vision. They then come together as one.
A vision is a clear picture of the further that provides a guiding purpose to your life. Vision inspires you to use your gifts, instructs you and focuses your efforts. This clear vision allows you to use your gifts to more effectively glorify God.
Back to prayer. Prayer is an import part in determining your spiritual gifts. It is also important in getting a clear vision. It is important to communicated with God and listen for God to speak to you. Prayer is communication between you and God. Not just talking to God, but listening. Sometimes it is more like the psalmist who says in Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.”
Bloom where you are planted
What does it mean to bloom where you are planted? It means that we should do the best we can, just where we are at this moment. It means first, to know who I am. From there, to flower. That has been what I have been speaking about in this series. Determining our spiritual gifts, so we can be who we are, where we are and then flower where we are. It is up to you to bloom where you are planted. God has given all that is needed.
If you were to make a banner to represent you blooming as a flower, what would it look like? What would you want to include and communicate to all, to see who God made you to be? Consider this. Put on your banner words that proclaim something about your faith. Maybe some symbols and a few words.
Who has God made you to be? What are the gifts God has given you. Where is God leading you. Are you willing to go where your spiritual gifts take you? They came from God, and God tells us in Jeremiah 29,
For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. 12 Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. 13 When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, 14 I will let you find me, says the Lord…
I am going to pass around today, clip boards. If you are at all interested in learning more about your spiritual gifts, then print your name, phone number and an email address. I want to give each of you an opportunity to participate in a church-wide study on spiritual gifts. It is an eight-week long study, where we will look deeper into our spiritual gifts. We will walk together with God, prayer with one another, prayer to God and listen for what he has given us. Let us find our clear visions and God’s vision for us and walk in such a way, that the visions become one.
If you cannot make that commitment now, that is okay. You can email me, email the office or call the office and let us know. I will also have a sign-up sheet at the welcome center. Once we know how many people, then we will form small groups to walk through the study. We will see what days’ and times work best. Because of the importance of this study and the time that it takes, we will not have a Sunday class. Each class is 1 hr. So, we know the reality of that. It means an hour and 15 mins.
Ask yourself. Can you spare 10 hrs. of your time to find out what God has given you. Can you spare 10 hrs. of the time God has given you, to walk with God?
In confirmation this year, we will be doing the same study. Because of some other important topics that need to be covered, we will be doing the study over 16 weeks.
The God of all, who is and has been. Who gave you everything, also give you the heart to participate, to give back 10 hrs. of the time God has already given you, to find out what spiritual gifts God has given you and where God is leading you. In the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen