Once again, my message for today is "switch it up." I've talked about switching up what you're reading about your faith and what you're reading in the Bible. Now I'm talking about what you're doing, how you're serving God.
One of my seminary professors, Dr. Bagby, used to say that we'll never fully utilize all the gifts God has given us. When he first said that, I didn't believe him. I thought I knew which gifts God had given me and had shown me how he wanted me to use them for his glory. But I was naive.
My spiritual gifts and inherent talents haven't changed. But the ways I utilize them have.
For example, I felt gifted in the area of care, listening, and being with people who were struggling. I thought I used that gift to its max in caring for students. That was great, but putting that gift to use in new ways has revitalized my spiritual journey. Now, I get to care for parents of students, for people who serve with me, and others. Today I was blessed to spend time with a woman I'd not met before who was in need of a pastor. My time with her has impacted me, my heart, and my faith in dramatic ways. It's the same gift, but I'm using it in new ways.
Another example is that I felt gifted in teaching. I enjoyed (and still enjoy) teaching small groups of teenagers about faith, the Bible, and life. I thought that was the best use of my teaching gift, and it fulfilled me. It still does. But then I was invited to be one of the Teaching Pastors at church, as in preaching to the adults and teenagers. At first I declined the invitation, saying I didn't have the emotional energy to pursue an intense venture like that. Then I reconsidered and accepted the invitation. And it has transformed my spiritual life. The five opportunities I've had in the last 18 months to teach have been significant moments in my spiritual journey. It's the same gift, but I'm using it in new ways.
Changing up how I've served God in those two ways has challenged me, blessed me, and changed me. The challenge part is key for me. I can write a small group lesson for teeangers in about 10 minutes. It's fun, fulfilling, and easy for me now. Writing a Blue Christmas message, one to minister to people who are grieving this time of year, was a huge challenge for me. Sometimes, the challenge is what we need.
So, if you're serving God in a way that is a good fit for you, that you love, that is pretty easy for you, then consider switching it up. How else could you use that gift, in a way that would honor God, challenge you, and draw you closer to Him?