A couple years ago, my family adopted a mixed breed dog from a rescue organization. Tasha is a friendly, playful, goofy dog. She’s a good companion, but she’s no working dog. She isn’t particularly fast or strong or smart or protective, and she has zero interest in retrieving. She’s well behaved and she makes us laugh, and we are happy to have her as a part of the family without expecting her to do anything.
A few months ago, our indoor cat Allie escaped outside. Our yard has dozens of tall trees and a ton of places for a cat to hide, so we wanted to catch Allie before she got herself into trouble. When I went out to look for the cat, Tasha bolted straight for Allie, and kept her contained by circling around her until I came across the yard to pick her up. Who knew? Tasha must have inherited a herding instinct from one of her doggie ancestors, and it kicked into action that day. She was enormously pleased with herself for doing something useful.
All of us have traits and abilities that we inherited from our parents and grandparents, whether we knew them or not. I inherited my bone structure from my mother’s mother, and my eye color from my biological father. But what traits and characteristics have I inherited from my heavenly father? According to Scripture, those of us who are believers are children, and heirs, of God!
John 1:12-13: “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
Galatians 4:6-7: “And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.”
2 Corinthians 6:18: “And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”
Romans 8:17 says that we are God’s children, “and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.”
What does it mean to be part of God’s family? The Scriptures mention our heavenly inheritance, the riches and glory of Christ himself, held safely for us in eternity. But Holy Spirit also gives us godly traits and talents in this life. It’s not our human heritage that empowers us to love the unlovable, to heal the sick and raise the dead and turn the world right-side-up. It is our place as children of God that enables us to take authority over all the power of the enemy. But most of all, we were bred (so to speak) for a purpose: to love God and to bring glory to him through our own unique giftings and circumstances. To very loosely paraphrase 1 Corinthians 12:29-30, we are not all sled dogs or retrievers, but each one of us has a gift, or multiple gifts, to use for the Body of Christ and the Kingdom of God.
You are an answer to someone’s prayer. You were designed and created to be a blessing to specific people at specific times in specific ways. Just like Tasha’s latent herding instinct, there is some gift or talent in you that will bless others, and make you come alive while you’re using it.
If you aren’t aware of what you have to offer, sit quietly before the Lord and ask him to bring to mind times in your life when you felt fully alive and connected to something or someone outside of yourself. It could be when you were nursing a baby, or painting a landscape, or tutoring a teenager, or a million other things. These memories are clues to the way you were designed to be used by God. Ask God to reveal your gift to you and unwrap it. Then ask him to show you one small step you can take on the path to living out your purpose. If he doesn’t give you something specific right away, keep asking and keep your heart open to his still, small voice that says, “This is the way. Walk in it.”
If you already know or suspect what your gift is, then your mission is to ask God how and where and when to use it. Then whatever he says, DO IT. That’s where I falter most often. Many times I know what I’m to do, but I place a higher priority on any number of other things. God is faithful to forgive me, but meanwhile the people that he has sent me to bless are left praying and wondering why God hasn’t answered them. And I’m left with the empty things I have chosen instead of the joy that comes from being used by the Lord.
Don’t be like me. Be like Jesus, and choose to fully carry out God’s mission and purpose for you on this planet. It’s work, and it takes sacrifice, but it’s well worth it. There is nothing that compares to the joy of partnering with the Creator of the universe to show his love to people. When this life ends, you will hear him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Come and share your master’s happiness!”
Start right now. What is one unique aspect of your design? Share it with me in the comments. See you there!