Well, my brothers and sisters, let’s summarize. When you meet together, one will sing, another will teach, another will tell some special revelation God has given, one will speak in tongues, and another will interpret what is said. But everything that is done must strengthen all of you. (1 Corinthians 14:26)
Relate: I can’t remember the exact moment it first happened. I can remember my emotions. I can remember my fear and anticipation. I can remember where I was and how quickly the heart in my chest was beating. It happened when I was in eighth or perhaps ninth grade. I was in a church service where the worship was particularly intense. Suddenly, I felt God wanted me to speak out and give a message in tongues. I know, with that last sentence I just lost some of you. Sorry about that. I cannot speak to what you do or do not believe. I am only speaking of what happened. Or rather, what did not happen. It probably did not go on for very long, but it felt like about five minutes where I was wrestling between being obedient and speaking out vs my fear of being wrong or making a fool of myself. Almost to the exact instant where I decided that I will not speak, another lady in the church stood up and began doing what I refused.
I wish I could say I had learned my lesson from this. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Three or four times over the course of the next few years, almost this exact same scenario played out. I would feel God’s prompting, there would be a struggle, I would say no, and then someone else would speak out. The last time this happened was my senior year in high school. Again, I can remember the exact place and setting I was in. I remember thinking, “Next time, God, I promise I will do it.” There has never been that next time. God has used me in other ways. I’ve prophesied. I’ve had words of knowledge. But I have never felt led to step out in that direction since.
React: God has gifted each of us in different ways for the strengthening of all. There are some ways I have been gifted and some ways I am not. Some of those, like singing/music, I have simply not been gifted and it would be torture for others to have to endure my attempts. Other ways I might have been used but, like a buried talent, it was taken from me. God gave me something for the strengthening of others, and I buried it.
Everything we have is not ours. Every gift we have been blessed with, whether it falls under the spiritual gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12, or the leadership gifts in Ephesians, or something we would call more mundane: you might be gifted as an artist, or a handiman, an administrator or a businessman. Whatever it is. Whatever they are, they are yours so that through you God can strengthen His church. Whatever gifts or talents you possess, they are not possessions, they are gifts. So give them.
God, I long to be a tool in Your hands. I long to be used by You. For those times in my past where I have buried or hidden the gifts You have given me for others, forgive me. Help me to be obedient when You are prompting me to step out. Help me to be observant for those ways I can give what I have to be a blessing to others. Help me to be willing to be stretched beyond what I thought possible. In all things let me be surrendered to You that Your church might be built up and that Your Kingdom might advance.