I’m teaching my Youniquely Designed for Ministry workshop this weekend. I usually don’t give out the workbooks prior to the class, preferring to provide some background and instruction before participants jump into the discovery process. However, since we only have this one opportunity to meet together, I handed out the workbooks a couple of weeks in advance.
I received an email from one of the participants yesterday saying that, after looking over the workbook, he and his wife had decided they would prefer to go through the workbook and discuss it together…on their own. He also cited their busy schedules and how it is very difficult for them to find any “extra” time.
Now, I’m well aware that, having had the opportunity to view the material in advance of the class, this young couple may have decided that they aren’t interested in it. But, taking the email at face value, two things came to mind…
Discovery is appropriately worked out in community.
The church by design is one body—one body made up of many members obviously—but one body, nonetheless (1 Corinthians 12; Romans 12:5). The gifts of the Spirit are not for us as individuals, but for the church as a whole, that we would all grow into the maturity of Christ (Ephesians 4:13). Rightly understood, then, gifts discovery belongs in the context of community. Of course, we enjoy and benefit from discussing this with our spouse and/or those with whom we are in close relationship. But to see it as something private is to misunderstand the function of spiritual gifts. My gift(s) is for you and your gift(s) is for me. Discovering and exercising one’s gifts in full view of the community encourages those within the community to do the same, thereby establishing unity and maturity within the body.
Who controls your calendar?
“I just don’t have time” is a phrase on everyone’s lips these days. I say it, too, and I am determined to stop. Who actually controls my calendar? Fate? Or some invisible gremlin who rights stuff on it when I’m not looking? Of course not! I control my calendar. No one writes anything on it but me. Of course, there are some things that I must do because my employers require it of me or because I am part of a family. But, when you get right down to it, the choice is still mine to make—with the understanding that there are consequences to accompany my choice!
The question I want to ask that young couple is, What do you really want? Because whatever you truly desire—whatever you are really passionate about—will motivate you to organize and prioritize your calendar to make room for it. The consequence of allowing circumstances to control your calendar is that your deepest desires will never be actualized, your life will lack purpose and meaning, and the body of Christ to which you belong will be left wanting that which God created you to contribute.