Day 32: Using What God Gave You – 40 Days of Purpose-Driven Life

Purpose #4: You Were Shaped for Serving God

Point to Ponder: God deserves my best.

Verse to Remember: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” — II Timothy 2:15 (NIV)

Question to Consider: How can I make the best use of what God has given me?

[Read More] thoughts on Day 32 of Rick Warren‘s Purpose-Driven Life* including reflections on how God has shaped me.

Rick says, “The best use of your life is to serve God out of your shape.” He then identifies three steps to doing that:

A. Discover Your Shape

* Begin by assessing your gifts and abilities (with help from others)
* Consider your heart and personality
* Examine your experiences and extract the lessons you have learned

B. Accept and Enjoy Your Shape

“As John Bunyan said, ‘If my life is fruitless, it doesn’t matter who praises me. If my life is fruitful, it doesn’t matter who criticizes me.'”

C. Keep Developing Your Shape

“Whatever gifts you have been given can be enlarged and developed through practice.”

Not much to disagree with there, so maybe I should focus on actually applying this for a change. 😉

I come from a very serving family — my parents, now retired, spend a big chunk of their time on medical mission trips. Because of that, I had plenty of opportunities to practice gifts I had (and even those I didn’t :-). Even before going to college, I’d led worship, performed solos, preached sermons, gone on mission trips, etc. In college I was fortunate enough to join an InterVarsity chapter during its rebuilding phase, so I led small groups, discipled a raft of freshman, and organized retreats and other events. After all that, I didn’t have many new gifts left to discover, apart from learning to exercise what might be called prophetic gifts as part of 120 Fellowship.

Since then, it seems like I — or the groups I’ve joined — have always been in one transition or other: moving or marriage on my part, changes of leadership or venue on theirs. I’ve certainly done a lot of ministry — discipling, bible study, organizing, etc. — but its all been fairly short-term: doing something for a year or two before moving on to something completely different. I look forward to finally putting down roots in San Jose later this year, where we can plug-in to more long-term sustained ministry.

I completely agree with Rick that our gifts are best understood through being part of a community, where our shape is expressed and validated through the body of Christ. I pray that God would continue to nurture — and prune — me as needed.

Prayer: God, I thank you for all the ways you’ve blessed. Not just for my personal gifts, but for my parents, pastors, and other leaders who’ve called me out and modeled how to serve. Father, I’ve been given so much — far beyond my ability to use wisely on my own. I know that much will be — and has been — required of me. Grant me the wisdom to know your will, and the courage to do it. Grant me also friends and co-laborers to help me along the way. Most of all, help me to serve out of an experience of Your heart, not my own needs. I ask this in Jesus name, Amen.