In evaluating people for specific jobs and responsibilities, we often consider education, experience, impressive resumes, and various personal traits. But do we take into account a person’s inherent gifts?
Some time ago, while teaching about “Calling,” I challenged a group to pray for God to reveal their unique skills and abilities. Because many times we find the innate gifts that we have had virtually from birth can be significant factors in our success in the workplace. These traits can help to define what we have been “called” to do both professionally and personally.
This prompted considerable discussion, especially some of the participants had never stopped to assess areas in which they might be uniquely gifted. One participant, a legal secretary, later told me she believed God had more for her, so she decided to pray for God to reveal what that might be, to give her clarity concerning her future vocational pursuits.
That week, her boss informed her that executives at their company’s headquarters were so impressed with her training skills that they decided to promote her, giving her the title and responsibility of National Trainer for their legal secretaries. She was delighted. After doing so well in her role as an administrative assistant, she discovered God had much more in mind for her.
Failing to recognize the unique capacities God has built into each one of us can result in our failure to fully realize and fulfill our potential. We see this principle being illustrated in a number of places in the Bible. For example, in the book of Exodus – after the Israelites had been freed from the bondage and tyranny of the Egyptians – God identified specific individuals to carry out clearly defined tasks. One of them was a man named Bezalel, who would be charged with the design and creation of implements and facilities for worship.
Exodus 31:1-3 says, “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘See, I have chosen Bezalel…and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts.’” We then see Bezalel overseeing and performing beautifully detailed work intended to assist the Israelites in their regular worship of the God who had provided for them so wonderfully.
Thinking about how the Lord uniquely and specifically gifts each one of us, I think of Eric Liddell, who was portrayed in the 1981 film, “Chariots of Fire.” Liddell had committed to serve as a missionary to China, but also was a gifted athlete. In one scene, after he inadvertently misses a church prayer meeting because he was at practice running, his sister Jennie approaches him in anger. She accuses him of no longer caring about God.
Liddell’s response is humble, yet direct. He explains that he does intend to go to the mission field in China, but also feels divinely inspired when running – and that not to run would be to dishonor God. In the film he says, “I believe that God made me for a purpose. But He also made me fast, and when I run, I feel His pleasure.”
As we work, do we “feel God’s pleasure”? Like Bezalel, we all have God-given skills, abilities, and knowledge. Ask Him to reveal them and use them for His glory.
Copyright 2021, Unconventional Business Network. Adapted with permission from “UBN Integrity Moments”, a commentary on faith at work issues. Visit www.unconventionalbusiness.org to sign up for UBN Integrity Moments emails. UBN is a faith at work ministry serving the international small business community.
- Have you ever considered the work you do as a “calling”? What does the term calling mean to you – and do you believe it applies to the modern-day workplace?
- Have you ever stopped to consider what God-given, innate abilities you have that you might not be fully utilizing? If not, how might you identify what those skills and gifts are and explore how you might start putting them to use?
- What do you suppose it means to “feel God’s pleasure” in something we do? Do you think this is something that should be true for every one of us, or do you think this is an experience reserved only for specially chosen individuals? Explain your answer.
- Who can you think of who seems to be succeeding at recognizing his or her inherent gifts and abilities? What things stand out about this person for you?
NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages: Exodus 31:1-6; Proverbs 22:29; 1 Corinthians 12:12-25; Colossians 3:17, 23-24