“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” — 1 Corinthians 12:4-7
I love watching sports on television, but there’s something special about seeing professional athletes up close. The jumping and dunking ability, the home run power, the sheer size and strength — you get a greater appreciation for it seeing it up close versus just on the TV screen.
People gravitate toward watching sports as a hobby for a variety of reasons, but one of those is because we get to see these premier athletes do things we can only dream of doing. We willingly live vicariously through their abilities and accomplishments. But in many ways, the life they lead feels far different than ours, and at times it can feel unrelatable. As fun as it is watching the best of the best do their thing, chances are at some point you’ve wondered why you weren’t blessed with that same size, talent and ability.
For me, it’s easy to see other people succeed in areas I wish I had more ability in and experience some feelings of comparison or envy. In these moments, though, it’s as if I’m discounting the skills, abilities and talents God has given me, and saying they aren’t good enough compared to what someone else possesses. This type of thinking prevents me from experiencing the fullness of God’s purpose for my life with the talents He’s given to me.
While professional and college athletes get the spotlight and the worldly fame that comes with it, it doesn’t mean your abilities or platform are any less just because TV cameras might not be around tracking your every move. Plenty of professional and college athletes use their platform to witness to others for Christ, but that’s not the only way to do it. Whether you play on your high school team or in a rec league, God has given you athletic ability and a group of people to influence while doing it.
And even beyond sports, you have been given unique skills and gifts that only you have. There is literally no one else in the world with your specific set of skills, abilities, ideas and creativity. How amazing is that?
Think about the most successful sports teams. They have their stars and leaders, but not everyone has that role or is expected to play that role. In basketball, some guys have one job, and that’s to rebound the ball. For others, they might be a 3-point or defensive specialist. For the team to operate at its best and achieve its main goal of winning a championship, everyone must recognize, accept and carry out their individual role. If Dennis Rodman tried to be Michael Jordan, the Chicago Bulls likely would have never won those championships in the 1990s.
As Christians, we are all on the same team with a common goal: to glorify Christ and bring as many people with us to Heaven. Some of us are called to teach. Some are called to lead. Others are called to pray for, to mourn with and comfort others, or to help those in need. When you were born, you were given certain earthly talents. When you were born again, you were given certain spiritual gifts, like leadership, prayer and helping.
As it says in 1 Corinthians 12:4-7, “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”
Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:1-2, “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
You can experience your purpose and play your part when you humbly embrace your role and your unique set of gifts and talents in the eternal plan of God.
— Cole Claybourn
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