Clarice James

Smart, Fun, Relatable Fiction

Are You Using Your Unique Gifts & Talents?

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Our Unique Gifts & TalentsMy husband had been sick on and off for years before he passed away, so my involvement in church ministries had been intermittent and limited. Near the end of his life, my ministry was caring for him.

After he died, I spent several months floundering around in grief before I decided to resume the church newsletter ministry I had begun years back. It helped to write. The problem was it also kept me isolated in my office.

I spoke with a friend one day and told her that I wanted to get involved in a ministry that gave me more interaction with people, but that I wasn’t sure where I belonged.

She said, “How about working in the nursery? The babies are so cute.”

“Yes, they are, arent’ they? But the whole crying/diaper-changing thing is way more than it’s cracked up to be.”

“Then how about Children’s Church? They’re always looking for workers.”

“Yeah, there’s a reason for that.  They wear volunteers out faster than we wear out deacons.”

“Pre-teens?”

“Unh-uh. They scare me.”

“Youth group?”

“No, they need someone cool. I’m not cool.”

She folded her arms across her chest and sighed. “Well, then, all that’s left is young adults.”

As soon as she said it I knew. I don’t know why, but I always enjoyed young people, especially those in their college years. They are so optimistic and full of ideas. I got excited thinking of ways I might minister to them.

In the end, I came up with a simple concept: I would feed them. (I knew if I wanted guys to show up, it had to involve food.) So each Tuesday night I cooked and invited them for supper. The program included a meal and conversation. I usually had between ten and twelve show up, sometimes more.

The fact that I was a mother like any other mother didn’t seem to concern them. Since my children were years older and virtually out of the picture, there was no chance of interpersonal drama. (Actually, sometimes I wondered if the young adults even knew I was there.)

At first I tried to steer the conversation by asking faith-based questions; but I soon  realized that these young people just wanted a place to gather and be themselves. I let them. It helped that I promised to keep their conversations confidential.

The result? Friendships were made and strengthened. One couple eventually married and now has three children.  Two people accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. And I was used by God.

What is the Lord leading you to do? Care to share it?

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5 thoughts on “Are You Using Your Unique Gifts & Talents?

  1. For years, my highly unpredictable flight schedule kept me from committing to any church ministry. I occasionally took on an adult SS class, but always with an assistant who could take the class when I was surprised with a weekend trip. Things finally slowed down last fall, so I decided to get involved in something. I called a close friend who was over several ministries, and we scheduled a meeting.

    The night before we met I had a dream. I was outside a coffee shop, moving from table to table, talking with young people, none of whom I knew. It was a strange dream–until I met with my friend. When I asked him where the church needed help, he immediately said, “We’re desperate for help with our college class.” I said nothing to him about the dream, but assured him that I’d be happy to jump in.

    Another proof point for “the Lord moves in mysterious ways.”

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  2. Thanks for sharing. It’s interesting how the Lord gets us into what He has designed us for! 🙂 I never had time to write and then an attack of MS gave me lots of time. Looking back I can see how He engineered events of my life to get me the skills I would need to be a writer. I didn’t have to go back and learn to type or spell or learn grammar…the nitty gritty had already been learned so when the time to write came, I could. Pretty amazing. He doesn’t waste anything.

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  3. As a pastor’s wife, I can tell you that this is so valuable in a church fellowship. You were living out the biblical model of ministry around the table. Great post, Clarice.

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