Proverbs 18:16- “A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men.”
I have heard this preached many times in the context of your gift will make room for you, and get you where God wants you to be. Whether in your church, or in your business, even in your home. In some churches, it is used to get the crowd uplifted enough to believe that what God has placed inside of them is what will get them to “the top”.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe that what God spoke to put in the Bible is truth. Man’s interpretation of those words can sometimes not be. So, yesterday during church, God pulled me out, and we had a bit of a discussion about this. My question to Him was this..
“God, what if we have it wrong? What if that verse isn’t really talking about what you’ve placed inside of us? What if our gifts don’t truly make room for us in the way that most think when they read this verse? What if the greatest man our gifts make room for us with is only You?”
We all know people who are insanely gifted in some area. Sometimes we call them “touched by God”. We see many of these people in churches on stage singing or playing instruments. We assume that these peoples’ gifts have made room for them in that arena because they are seen. People can take the evidence of their gifts being on display and believe in their “anointing”. We assume that if a person can do a run, or if they show a talent in working media or leadership, and they get placed in a position of power, that it’s all God.
I used to believe this as well. The problem for me now, is that I know that being on a stage, or in a position of power, means nothing in reference to a gift. I know people who sit in churches every Sunday with a “beast” of a gift in their lives who simply never get the opportunity to show it. I also know people with a “beast” of a gift who show it all of the time, but have no fruit to show of it. Who’s fault is that?
Is it the Pastor’s fault for not recognizing a gift? Or is it our job to flaunt our gift in order to get in front of those great men that Proverbs talks about?
I don’t think the blame lies with any party. Pastors and church leaders can’t walk around with their gifting radar on 100% of the time. By that same token, if a person believes that they have a gift and can serve in some area, sometimes they need a little prodding before believing in themselves enough to approach church leadership. In both cases, there has to be some give and take. Pastors have to be open to people they might not expect being the very person that their church needs to step up, and church-goers must be willing to take that risk and put themselves out there. Either way, we can’t judge what we see outwardly as a true gift. Gifts have many levels and depths to them. What sets one gift apart from another lies in the level to which a person has given themselves over to God, to entrust Him with the gift that was given to them from Him.
Now, I need to talk to you for a second, from my heart.
So what if you can’t make your voice do a run. The anointing is not kept by vocal acrobatics. Who cares if you can’t play a barre chord. The anointing can rest on your playing if you only know 4 chords. You might stutter when you speak. Don’t let what people allow or disallow you to do, to be the judge of whether or not you believe that you have something inside of you graced from God. If you want to sing on the worship team at your church but can’t get an opportunity, so what? You sing in the pews. You sing in the hallways. Glorify God with your gift. Maybe you sing on a worship team and want to lead a song. If you feel looked over, think about why you sing in the first place, and then you lead worship from your position like you’re the only one on stage. Also, understand that whether you lead a song or not has no bearing on what level of influence your worship might have. I know people who have never lead a song, who are constantly told by people how much their worship affects those who watch them. Inversely, I know people who lead songs all of the time who have absolutely no effect, other than emotional engagement.
Cultivate your gift in private, and God will use it in public. Be your creative, authentic self. For example, I’m a creative type. I write music, among other things. I love doing it. I feel close to God when I do, but it has been over 10 years since anything I wrote was actually sung in a church, and that one time that it was, it was almost by accident. Once upon a time I became so jaded with the thought of writing music for the church that nobody would give me a chance to sing that I quit. When I quit, God quit giving me music. I believed, erroneously, that the quality of my gift was only judged by whether some leader thought my music was good enough to be performed in their church. What I learned, was that without my gift, I felt empty. I missed that communion with God. I prayed for a long time that it would come back, and since it has, I no longer care whether I ever hear a song in a church. I do it because that is time with God that I cherish.
God showed me something yesterday as it relates to giftings and where gifts can take us. He showed me a house. People always admire a newly built house. They look at the craftsmanship of it, and drool. It’s on display now. What about, though, when you strip away all of the trappings? Take away the furniture and decor. Empty it of any tell that a family lives there. Strip away the walls and look at the framing and dry wall. Look at the insulation. Check out the wiring, and the foundation filled with concrete. Look at the plot of land that it is built on.
See, people will look at a house and see it’s beauty, but not see that same beauty when they look at the framing, or the drywall. They may not see the beauty in the plot of land that it is to be built on, yet the beauty and potential for beauty is still there, no doubt! And usually, if nobody else can see the beauty of a new home, the owners who are building that home can see it from the beginning.
In that same fashion, God has gifted us all with something great and powerful for His kingdom. We have to individually believe and see the beauty in what God has placed within us, whether anybody else can see it or not. We have to believe that our gift is beautiful before anybody else does. We can’t be mad at people for not recognizing what is in us. We can’t harbor resentment. We have to trust that the gift-giver is pleased, whether anybody ever sees it or not.
We also have to quit thinking that someone else operating in a similar gifting to ours negates what God has placed inside of us. And see, this was my problem for a long time, and I can fall into that trap still today if I’m not careful. Someone else operating in a gift, and doing it impressively, has no bearing on your own. Even if the giftings appear the same on the outside, there is a fundamental difference inside of them that makes you unique. And needed. Just because someone else has the platform doesn’t mean that you don’t have power.
Yes. You. Needed.
The body of Christ needs what God has placed inside of you.
If nobody else sees it, God does.
And He is pleased.
That’s all that matters.
And when you feel like your gift is not making room for you and placing you in the presence of great men, understand that the GREATEST man who ever lived is Jesus Christ, and it is because of His gift of grace that we can be eternally in His presence.
We all want to be seen. I know. We all want to be recognized. I know. In the end, it’s God who recognizes, justifies, and glorifies.
That’s where the satisfaction is.
By the way, there is also something to be said for creating your own outlets, or looking for alternate outlets than a church service for your gifts to flow. After all, the church is not a building. It’s a people.
And you are good enough, gifted enough, to bless them.
Be blessed today!