Cherishing Our Gifts
For Life University revival, Sihanoukville, Cambodia – May 7, 2012
Several weeks ago, God revealed to me in a vision that I would stand on a stage and speak to groups of young people. In the vision, however, God said I would speak to young people in my home country of the United States.
So, it was a bit of a shock to me last Thursday when our team was invited to speak at this revival, and God tapped me on the shoulder and said, “You will give the message.”
I looked around the room and over both my shoulders and asked, “You talkin’ to me God?”
“Yep,” He said. “I’m talking to you.”
“But you said I would speak on a stage in the United States,” I said. “I have at least three months before we’re back in the U.S. I’m not sure if I’m quite ready to speak on a stage yet.”
“I’ll prepare you,” God said. “I’ve been preparing you all along.”
That night, God reminded me of the four years of speech and drama in which I participated in high school and the extra year I took in college. He also sent me a message – on Facebook. That’s right! God speaks to us on Facebook!
The message He sent said, “We must not neglect to use the Spiritual gifts we have been given. They do not come to us fully developed. God requires us to step out in faith and trust Him to live, love, and work through us.”
Timothy had a Spiritual blessing for preaching and public speaking, but Timothy was very young and timid – much like me, minus the young part.
Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.”
That was the first message God sent me. The second Word from God was spoken by a preacher from the United States who spoke in Cambodia that same night. He said during his sermon, “God created the plant with the seed already in it.”
That might not sound so profound to you, but God used that statement and the song, “He Knows My Name,” that we sang during worship earlier that day to remind me of a story from high school. That story set the foundation for the message God prepared for me to deliver to you tonight.
When I was about 16 years old, our youth pastor asked us a question one evening during youth group. She said, “If you could be anyone in the world, who would you be?”
She went around the room seeking everyone’s answers. Some people named movie stars; others wished they could be famous musicians; some wanted to be their grandparents or parents. But I couldn’t think of anyone. I could not think of one single person who did not have some sort of problem circulating in the tabloids or hardship of which I wanted no part.
So, when she got around to me, I had to answer honestly, “I don’t want to be anyone. I just want to be me. God made me to be me, and that’s who I want to be.”
I’m here today to remind you that God made you to be you, and I want you to remember that … because I did not.
It wasn’t long after I made that bold and confident statement that I went to college. In college, I found all kinds of inspiration: I could have a great career, lots of money, a new car, a nice house. I started looking around at everyone else, and I began to want to be everyone around me.
I chased the “Great American Dream,” which turned out to be not so great at all. And after I had chased that dream for about 12 years, God so graciously reminded me of His dream for me. That’s the awesome thing about God. Even when we forget about Him, He never, ever, ever for gets about us.
In 2009, God sent a group of college students to our church to perform a simple skit. You can view a similar skit here: More Coke.
That skit forever changed my life. I knew I had been ungrateful for the portion God had given me.
The day after watching that skit, the college students’ advisor delivered our Sunday morning message at church. I can’t tell you what his sermon was about, but I can tell you word for word one line that he spoke. He said, “There is no greater calling than ministering for the Lord.”
I knew God had spoken that message through him directly to me. Within two months, I closed my business and began a path to ministering full-time for God. I have had peace with that decision ever since.
When we make decisions based on God’s direction, He gives us complete peace. I did not say He makes life easy. I said we have peace. A year and a half ago, I lost my dad to cancer and went through a divorce in the same two months. Those trials were extremely tough, but God granted me the peace I needed to get through them.
When I heard the song, “He Knows My Name,” last week, plus the other messages God sent me, I was reminded of God’s omnipresence. The words say, “I have a Maker. He formed my heart. Before even time began, my life was in his hands.”
Yes, God created the plant with the seed already in it. And that seed is in each one of you, and He knows your name! He knows your every thought. He sees every tear that falls. And he hears you when you call.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 10:29-30 that God cares what happens to you even more than you do. He pays more attention to you than you pay to yourself – right down to knowing how many hairs you have on your head!
He knows your name! And He has hand-picked you for something special – something so special that only you can do it the way God wants it done. That’s pretty special.
God doesn’t give you your gift so you can chase after someone else’s. He gives you your gift so you can perfect it and bless others with it.
Read with me in Romans 12:6: “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.”
In other words, if you are a new believer and have only a small amount of faith, use it! God says if we have faith as small as a mustard seed, we can move mountains!
Reading on in Romans 12:7-8, Paul writes about gifts, “If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership , let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”
God puts all these gifts in each one of us, and He shows us how to use them according to the plan He has for us.
So, if God guides you into a career of being a police officer, serve honestly and justly.
If you become an attorney, show mercy and show it cheerfully.
If you become a doctor, contribute to the needs of others, and give generously.
If you teach, teach with all your heart.
If you are waiting tables or working at a gas station to get through college, serve your customers as if you are serving God Himself.
Because God created the plant with the seed already in it, … and He loves to watch it grow.
Dear Lord, thank you for your gift. Let me discover what it is and perfect it so I can share it with others. Let your gift to me be a blessing to others. Thank you, Jesus, for your eternal gift to us. In your holy name I pray. Amen.