“Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered into the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Cor. 2:9What a marvelous promise. Many times I have used that verse to give a glimpse of what Heaven will be like, yet it is still unimaginable to our finite minds.
Even though it’s a wonderful thing to imagine all God has prepared for us in Heaven, the proper context of the verse has to do with what He reveals to us today. Paul was describing to the Corinth believers how God has chosen to reveal Himself to the common man, instead of the socially and politically well connected influencers of society.
“For consider your calling brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despise, God has chosen the things that are not so that He might nullify the things that are, that not man may boast before God.”(1 Cor. 1:26-29)
This is good news for two reasons:
First, we are assured that God’s power, and His calling is for everyone regardless of our social, cultural or educational background.
It’s always been that way. A walk through scripture will reveal that God has always chosen shepherds, fishermen, carpenters, poor widows, and even harlots to be His most effective servants. He reveals why He chooses ordinary people in the above verse: “so no man can take credit for what only God can do.”
Many who are gifted, talented and successful are so “self-made” that it’s sometimes difficult for them to possess the humility to give God the credit. That’s the reason the scriptures say that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to be saved.
One of the most vivid pictures of this principle is the Dalit people of India. As you may know, India is a culture that uses a caste system. This is a system that socially classifies its citizens from the most socially acceptable to the least acceptable. The Dalit are the least acceptable. They are the street sweepers, beggars and possess the least desirable jobs in society. They have virtually no possibility of higher education, home ownership or wealth. Their destiny is set and controlled by their social status. Low class does not mean ignorant, many are very intelligent; they just don’t have the same opportunity for education and equal access to the job market.
However, God in His mercy and infinite wisdom has visited the Dalit and there are hundreds of thousands of them coming to Christ. There are many churches being planted among this rejected and neglected people group. I have had the wonderful privilege of being around these believers in India.
Status and ranking in society mean nothing to God. The late Dr. J Vernon McGhee would say, referring to Balaam’s donkey that stopped in the path and talked to Balaam, “That just proves that God can use any ole jackass.” That’s a crude way to put it but he nails the point.
God uses me through my natural/spiritual giftedness
I am sure you will agree that God is a god of order. He is predictable and unpredictable at the same time. He is unpredictable because He can use unusual methods to accomplish supernatural results. In other words, God often surprises us by accomplishing His purposes in ways we could not even imagine.
But mostly He is predictable. He is predictable by observing how He has worked throughout history. He is predictable because of the cause and effect of the promises of His Word. He is predictable when we know and observe his character.
God chooses to use common, ordinary men and women whom He has given natural and spiritual gifts. If God leads you to do a certain things it means that in a natural and supernatural way he gifted and equipped you to do those things. When I sensed a calling to vocational ministry I felt incredibly inadequate but as I began to do the work of the ministry I discovered that God had given me a natural gifting to communicate.
A close observation of the Bible characters will reveal that even though they were common ordinary people they possessed a natural giftedness that God worked through. Take Joseph and David for example. They were lowly shepherds. But what we fail to observe is that proper management of a herd of sheep required certain natural giftedness such as patience, livestock management, compassion, and the ability to protect and lead.
God almost always uses us through our natural/spiritual giftedness. For example, if you do not enjoy teaching He is not going to call you to be a minister or school teacher. If you can’t sing or find it difficult to understand music He is not going to call you to be a choral director or solo singer. If you find it difficult to balance your checkbook it doesn’t make sense that you would go to college to train to be an accountant.
Just because someone is trained to do something does not mean that they have the natural giftedness to do that kind of job. Matter of fact Marcus Buckingham wrote a book based on that very premise. In his book Strengthfinder he tells of a multi-year survey that reveals that millions of people were working in jobs that were outside of their natural giftedness. The result was over 80% of workers were unhappy, unfulfilled or downright miserable with their job. Why were they unfulfilled? Because even though they were trained to do a certain job, it was outside of their natural giftedness.
The Bottom Line
God created you for a purpose. (2 Timothy 1:9) Your gifting and talents are always connected to God’s overall intentions for you. He gave you natural and spiritual gifting just for that purpose… to be used by Him. God’s overall purpose is for you to be a conduit for the life of Christ. Your gifting is not your signal to “go it on your own,” but your gifting is for the sole purpose of equipping you so that the life of Christ will flow effortlessly through your life. That’s the reason this old saying is a true statement, “God always equips those He calls.”
God wants to reveal Himself to the world and He has chosen and gifted you to be His unique example and mouthpiece to a hurting world. You can rest assured that whatever situation you find yourself in, God is at work in you reveling Himself to someone within your little world.