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Archive for February, 2014

The Majesty of Living in our Makeup

The Main Sphere of Stewardship: Our God-given DNA *

It is to show forth the glory of God that we are put together, both as a race, and as individuals:

Psalm 8 puts it this way:

1   O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
2  Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
to still the enemy and the avenger.

3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?

5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet,
7 all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
8 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

9 O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

As a man or woman, you occupy a unique place of privilege and stewardship; God’s co-collaborator in the cultivation and management of the earth.

And as one designed by God with unique abilities and gifts, you glorify Him best by living in faith, embracing His creative work in you, and bearing fruit accordingly.

That lifts up His majestic name in all the earth!

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* This series is part of a 12-week study on the topic: Being Stewards of God <— (outline). We’re now in week 7, considering the sphere of our stewardship – why it is vital to determine our gifts and abilities. If you’d like to receive these posts in your inbox, just put your email address in the Email Subscription box on the blog’s right sidebar.

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The Main Sphere of Stewardship: Our God-given DNA *

mockingbirdGod could have made just one kind of bird. Instead, we have robins, doves, chickadees, blue jays, eagles, and – my favorite – mockingbirds. Plus hundreds more.

It’s almost spring (wishful thinking??). Soon, a whole slew of flowers will show up, of every conceivable size, color, shape, and aroma.

Even a cursory understanding of human DNA reveals that every single human being that has ever lived, and that WILL ever live, is unique. With an endless variety of makeups, both external and internal.

So, it should hardly surprise us that God gives us differing abilities and gifts.

The apostle Paul underscores this principle in 1 Corinthians 12, where believers are pictured as all being part of the body of Christ, and the body is made up of many different parts:

12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?

Diversity is baked into the way God creates, and re-creates. Our unity is not based on sameness; it grows through our embracing and using our God-given gifts and abilities.

We are stewards of OUR gifts, not someone else’s. Don’t be idle because you envy how God has put together others, mistakenly thinking that you are of no use. You are indispensable.

Be a faithful steward of your abilities. Sing the song that God put into you.

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* This series is part of a 12-week study on the topic: Being Stewards of God <— (outline). We’re now in week 7, considering the sphere of our stewardship – why it is vital to determine our gifts and abilities. If you’d like to receive these posts in your inbox, just put your email address in the Email Subscription box on the blog’s right sidebar.

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The Main Sphere of Stewardship: Our God-given DNA *

I’m an introvert.

I used to feel really bad about that. I felt deeply inferior to more extroverted people. But now I embrace and enjoy my wiring (note: it did take quite a while to get there)!

Many of God’s servants through the ages have been introverts. Many also have been extroverts. Some have boldly led from up front. Others have served, almost unseen, in the shadows.

Every type of person, with every type of internal wiring, is needed. Sure, we often need to stretch beyond our comfort zone, but we’ll only do so confidently when we know that we are well-designed for the purposes laid out for us.

And, when we know that the God of all adequacy is with us.

Our attributes are on a spectrum – for instance, I am much more inward-focused than extroverted – and while we may be able to move the needle somewhat here and there with acquired skills and behaviors, we’re not going to alter our fundamental DNA.

Spectrum

And why should we? Should a rose be envious of a calla lily, and try to change its shape and color??

Moses, in Exodus 4, was having an argument with God about his perceived sense of inadequacy for the task assigned to him. God’s answer is quite telling:

But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.”

God makes us who we are, and gives us the grace and strength to do what He calls us to – even if it’s a stretch.

Every puzzle piece has its own shape so it can fit into the larger whole. So it is in this world, and in the body of Christ.

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* This series is part of a 12-week study on the topic: Being Stewards of God <— (outline). We’re now in week 7, considering the sphere of our stewardship – why it is vital to determine our gifts and abilities. If you’d like to receive these posts in your inbox, just put your email address in the Email Subscription box on the blog’s right sidebar.

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The Main Sphere of Stewardship: Our God-given DNA *

I’ve loved Psalm 139 from my earliest days as a believer.

In this wonderful passage, we see depicted how God has been intimately and intricately involved in our design as individuals.

13 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

Your makeup is not an accident. God made you like that for a reason. For many reasons, actually – including your work.

If we are to be faithful stewards, we must embrace the truth that we are uniquely created by God for His wise purposes. The better we understand and embrace our “wiring,” the more intelligently we can move along a path of maximum fruitfulness.

Yesterday, on my Clarity Therapy blog, I summarized some thoughts about working in our sweet spot. The focus in that post is on business, but the principles are universal.

Of course, some of the responsibilities God calls us to will force us to see, and work on, our weaknesses as well. For instance, if you are a parent, you have discovered ALL KINDS of weak areas along with your strong suits (I certainly have)!

So we never end up doing only the things that we are best at. But, in our callings, we should still seek to discover our strengths, and shape our work around our DNA as much as possible.

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* This series is part of a 12-week study on the topic: Being Stewards of God <— (outline). We’re now in week 7, considering the sphere of our stewardship – why it is vital to determine our gifts and abilities. If you’d like to receive these posts in your inbox, just put your email address in the Email Subscription box on the blog’s right sidebar.

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The Main Sphere of Stewardship: Our God-given DNA *

We talked on Sunday about our God-given DNA, our “wiring” – how we cannot be something we’re not, but instead, we need to discover our unique strengths and abilities, and be good stewards of US.

We’ll do our best work as stewards when we are operating in our gifts and skills.

Well, I was going to write up today’s devotional message, and then I came across this minute-and-a-half clip by Pastor Derwin Grey, entitled “‘You Can Be Anything You Want To Be’ is a Lie!”

BOOM! Hammer, meet nail.

Give it a listen – it may radically change your outlook!

(also, I recently read Derwin Grey’s devotional book, Limitless Life. Good stuff – highly recommended.)

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* This series is part of a 12-week study on the topic: Being Stewards of God <— (outline). We’re now in week 7, considering the sphere of our stewardship – why it is vital to determine our gifts and abilities. If you’d like to receive these posts in your inbox, just put your email address in the Email Subscription box on the blog’s right sidebar.

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The Main Realm of Stewardship: Work *

To the best of our knowledge, Jesus grew up as an apprentice/carpenter.

He matured and worked. For about 30 years.

I’ll bet He was really good at His craft, too – can you imagine hiring the Son of God to build your stuff? Talk about referrals!

Here’s the point – before embarking on His public ministry – the most important work ever undertaken by any human being – Jesus was a lowly unknown. A laborer.

In the Gospel of John chapter 7, which I have been reading this week, Jesus’ background caused all kinds of perplexity. How did He become so learned? How could one claiming to be God’s Sent One have a history of hanging out in Galilee? Even His brothers weren’t believing in Him. And religious leaders were threatening to kill Him (people have always hated having their positions of influence undermined…there is nothing new under the sun).

Jesus’ path to public influence and God-honoring obedience was paved with humble work. Let us not despise the crucible that shapes God’s servants, even if it seems mundane.

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* This series is part of a 12-week study on the topic: Being Stewards of God <— (outline). We’re now in week 6, considering how work (in all its forms and spheres) is the main realm of stewardship. If you’d like to receive these posts in your inbox, just put your email address in the Email Subscription box on the blog’s right sidebar.

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The Main Realm of Stewardship: Work *

 

How do you reach the pinnacle of success?

Here’s the key. Work hard, in the area(s) of your greatest skills.

Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men. (Proverbs 22:29)

Notoriety based on superficiality is fleeting. Acclaim based on great work is long-lasting (and deserved).

 

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* This series is part of a 12-week study on the topic: Being Stewards of God <— (outline). We’re now in week 6, considering how work (in all its forms and spheres) is the main realm of stewardship. If you’d like to receive these posts in your inbox, just put your email address in the Email Subscription box on the blog’s right sidebar.

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