This evening I’ll board a Boeing bound for Budapest. Hmmm. That sentence sounds more like a tongue twister than a true statement! Nonetheless, it is true. And I can hardly wait!
The reason for my trip is to attend International Messengers’ annual staff conference. I missed it last year due to my leg injuries, so I’m eager to see my friends again and to hear about what God is doing in and through their lives.
Their ministries are diverse: Some work among teens and young adults living with HIV/AIDS. Others teach woodworking skills to gypsy men. Some provide a home for abused and abandoned grannies, mothers, and children. Several operate missionary training schools or language schools. One oversees the translation and printing of Christian literature in Romania. One is a Polish woman, nationally renowned for her paintings. Another manages a home for rescued prostitutes in Thailand. And the list goes on—approximately 180 staff working in 14 countries.
Our ministry isn’t known for one particular niche as many ministries are. Instead, our philosophy is, “How has God hard-wired you? What are your passions? How can you use these to build relationships with those who have not yet placed their trust in Christ?”
We believe God has equipped every believer with at least one motivational gift, and operating within that gift makes us most effective and brings the greatest personal fulfillment. Encouraging our staff to find, develop, and use their gifts means we see unique and effective ministries in action.
Here’s a quick study in motivational gifts, in case you haven’t heard that term before This is based on Romans 12:6-8: “God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out when you have faith that God is speaking through you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, do a good job of teaching. If your gift is to encourage others, do it! If you have money, share it generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly” (NLT).
Here are some simple definitions of these gifts:
- PROPHET – clearly perceives the will of God. He sees everything in life as black and white, right or wrong.
- SERVER – loves to serve others. This person is a doer and completely content working behind-the-scenes.
- TEACHER – finds joy in researching information and then telling others what he’s discovered. Ensuring factual accuracy is of utmost importance.
- EXHORTER – encourages others to live a victorious life. This person is usually a great storyteller and quick to perceive (and suggest) how people can improve their situations through behavioral change.
- GIVER – enjoys giving time, talent, energy, and goods /money to benefit others, and they usually don’t want public acknowledgement because that’s not their motive.
- ADMINISTRATOR – enjoys leading, organizing, and directing. This person has a knack for planning and orchestrating successful events.
- COMPASSION – shows love, kindness, and practical care for those in need. This person seems to have built-in radar for sensing when others are hurting.
Incidentally, tonight I’ll travel with a friend and her 16-year-old daughter. This friend, Bonnie, is a massage therapist. Her motivational gift is compassion, and she wants to use it to bless our staff by offering massages to those who need one. Sweet, eh?
When we reach London’s Heathrow airport, we’ll meet one of my nieces, Amanda. She’ll be traveling with one of my cousin’s daughters—Mikayla. Their passion is cosmetology, and they’ll provide free haircuts for our staff. I have a hunch their motivational gift is service.
And as for, I’ll be speaking in the “Women Only” session, teaching a workshop with my husband about staying well-married, and then teaching a workshop to a group of Slovak women who used my Bible study last winter. My motivational gift is exhortation—encouraging others to live victorious lives.
Have you discovered what your motivational gift is? How can you use it to build God’s kingdom?
I’m a man 83 years old, in a wheelchair and have been a quadrapelegic for 40 years. I became a born again believer at age 13.
I have had to change from what I felt I could do best to to things that I am now able to do , like using my hands. (computer)
WHY did this disability happen to me? I feel that I have always served God faithfully.
Phillip Yancey has written a book called, “Why?” It’s the question that won’t go away. Many people ask it because life has taken a detour they never anticipated. You can certainly relate. I think of Joni Eareckson Tada–she became a quadriplegic as a teenager and is now in her 60s. She’s done a lot of soul-searching over her circumstances, too. Have you read any of her material? You might find great encouragement there.
I wish I could give you an easy answer for what’s happened, but that’s not possible. When I’ve faced really hard things in life, I’ve tried to ask “What? What do You want to teach me through this, Lord? What do You want to accomplish through this?” I always have to remember that His ways are not mine. His thoughts are not mine (and that’s a good thing!). He sees my life through an eternal lens while I see it through a temporal one.
Someday your body will be whole again. Someday you’ll run and dance and raise your hands and wave and clap again. Someday every question and every tear will be wiped away, and then everything will make sense. Until then, know that God promises to strengthen those who acknowledge their need for His help. May He be your peace, your strength, your comfort, and your deep joy.
“Father, please encourage this gentleman today. Remind him that You love him. Give him strength and courage and joy for each day. Provide everything he needs for the practical things in life. Be his refuge and fortress. I ask this in Your name, amen.”