Get To Know Yourself
August 9, 2023 Creekwood United Methodist Church

Perceived Value - Deep Thoughts

Posted in Deep Thoughts

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Get To Know Yourself

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“The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ…”

-Ephesians 4:11-12 NRSV

Benjamin Franklin quipped:

“There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know oneself.”

H.W. Shaw said:

“It is not only the most difficult thing to know oneself, but the most inconvenient too.”

I wonder how true you find these statements to be?

A colleague in my pastoral leadership cohort would agree with both of these statements. There’s a general perception of those who go into ministry that we’ve got it all figured out, at least in terms of “who we are” and “what we are called to.” But that’s not always (or usually) the case, especially for my colleague. When I met her she was leading a highly energetic contemporary worship service in Houston and by the close of our cohort 7 years later she is now a licensed therapist. Her personal life has shifted, where she lives has shifted, and none of that change came simply because of a job switch.

She found herself. And it was hard to do and inconvenient to the plans she had made.

What she will tell you, and I would echo, is that each one of us grows up in multiple different layers of expectation.

  • Am I a good global citizen?
  • Am I a good American citizen?
  • Am I a good Christian?
  • Am I a good kid?
  • Am I going to be a good student or adult?

And then add on the layers of each individual sport, club, or organization that your parents sign you up for, or you choose yourself.

Some of those choices and experience help you discern who God made you to be and what you are passionate about or good at, but some of those cultural values impose upon us what we SHOULD be good at or passionate about.

For example, my colleague was told that to be in ministry you must preach, you must be extroverted, you must be funny and enjoyable, and your entire goal is to build big churches. Tack on her upbringing in a church that brought shame through “purity culture” and every single time she failed in those ministry expectations she felt lower and lower about herself.

When she couldn’t take it anymore, she ended up going back to school to explore and found her joy in counseling – and I would say (and so would she) she found her ministry again. Counseling is what she is good at. Counseling is where her introverted personality is good at listening to others. Counseling is where her gifts her shine. It was hard work to get there, and now inconvenient once she knew that ministry looked different.

Ephesians 4:11-12, Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 27-31 all speak to the idea that each of us is created uniquely, with the added wisdom that we were created uniquely so that we might uplift each other and the whole of God’s design (echoed in 1 Peter 4:10.). Discovering our unique giftedness can be tough when we generally are looking to please the culture around us…which might also be inconvenient. It might also be inconvenient when we realize that we are unique for the greater world, not to spite it.

During August, I want to invite you to discover more about yourself and how God created you unique. The United Methodist Church has a Spiritual Gift Inventory (or online quiz) that will help you understand what you are gifted with and how that makes a difference in the local church and the community around us. This is all part of our semester theme of #Called in which we want to equip you with the tools and inspiration to claim your calling as part of God’s work in the world.

If you want, send me your results back and we’ll chat about who you are and what God can use you for.


David Lessner

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