THE WAY TO LIVE_DOT III (YOUR ROLE) // CHAPTER 25
“There is no time for playing around. You have been retained as counsel for the unhappy. You have promised to bring help to the shipwrecked, the imprisoned, the sick, the needy, to those whose heads are under the poised axe. Where are you deflecting your attention? What are you doing?” // Seneca
As Jesus’ new family—the church—began to grow, people began to realize that each person had different personalities, gifts and abilities.
In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly. // Romans 12:6–8
They started to realize that the Holy Spirit didn’t just want them to bear fruit. But based on their unique spirit, soul and body, God had given them gifts to be of service to their family and the world. Not only does God give us a fingerprint that no one else has, to leave an imprint no one else can leave, this fingerprint is meant to be a gift to the world. It is meant to help us understand and decide what the meaning of our life is and live that out every day.
Every person who follows Jesus should strive to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit we discussed in Chapter 22. But there are unique abilities that everyone in the family gets to help each other. Paul says it this way:
“And the same is true for you. Since you are so eager to have the special abilities the Spirit gives, seek those that will strengthen the whole church.” // 1 Corinthians 14:12
Spiritual gifts are not natural abilities or character traits. They aren’t titles or positions, although they may lead to that in some cases. Most importantly, our gifts are not about us, they are meant to be used to love people and point them toward God.
Jesus said in the book of Acts,
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. // Acts 1:8
Ultimately, our gifts are meant to point people to the logos—to Jesus. They are meant to help people take the same journey we have taken. Our spirit, our gift and our fingerprint are not about us. As we have learned, to truly live a good life, we must decide what our life means to the people around us. The Holy Spirit gives us gifts so we can give those gifts to other people. If you’re alive, you have gifts to give.
God reveals our gifts only in the context of relationships. That’s why the family—the church—is so important. Without a family to give our gifts to, our gifts don’t matter. After all, if you can’t give a gift away, it’s not a gift.
Why live a good life?
“The greatest gift you can give anyone is a healthy you.” // Keith Craft[i]
Why should we live a good life? Because our talents don’t matter if we are unhealthy. Too many people want the world to tell them what they are worth. They are incapable of identifying their own value—the value that God has placed within them.
We must take the journey to know God, understand ourselves, and play a part in making the world a better place. If we can do this, we will be a gift to everyone we encounter. Every moment of our life will be filled with meaning and purpose. We may not get everything we want, but we will get (and give) the things that matter most.
God is not trying to convince us to join his religion. He’s not concerned about getting us to believe a certain way. Jesus wasn’t about founding an institution like a museum of faith.
Throughout history, God has been trying to help our lives mean something. He has been trying to get us on a journey with people who want their lives to mean something too. The church represents the hope of the world because God has always used people. The church is people, not a place. It is the home for our family of imperfect followers of Jesus. It is a place for us to learn and decide our philosophy, how we should live.
So we will end where we started:
How will you measure your life?
What do you want out of life?
What is the meaning of your life?
If you can learn to know God, and know yourself, only then can you see the part God designed only you to play. When you understand the role you are designed to play, every moment in your life will have meaning. Decide today what you want out of life, and determine within yourself to live a good life—a life that changes the world.
[i] Craft, Your Divine Fingerprint.