A while back there was a big Strengths Finder movement in the business world that eventually made its way to the Church.
The idea was that instead of focusing on improving your weaknesses and making only minor gains, you should concentrate on developing your strengths and get a much greater payoff.
On the one hand it made sense. Do what you’re good at, let others do what they’re good at, and everyone wins. And there are certainly Christian parallels (for example, see 1 Corinthians 12).
But the Bible also attests to another path.
God regularly asks us to do things we are not good at – things that we’re afraid of, unfamiliar with, or even resistant to, because he knows that in doing them we will have the opportunity to become more dependent on him, become more like him, and make a greater impact for him.
- It’s God telling Abraham to leave his native country, relatives, and father’s family to go somewhere unknown (Genesis 12:1).
- It’s God calling Moses to confront Pharaoh and rescue the Israelites, in spite of his many excuses (Exodus 3).
- It’s God appointing Gideon to deliver Israel from the Midianites, though his clan is the weakest and he is the least is his family (Judges 6).
- It’s God challenging Esther (via Mordecai) to risk her life for the sake of her people.
- It’s God choosing Jeremiah to be his prophet, although Jeremiah thinks he is too young for the job (Jeremiah 1:6).
- It’s God telling Jonah to preach to the Ninevites, knowing that’s the last thing he wants to do (Jonah 1:1-3, 4:1-3).
- It’s God picking Mary and Joseph to be Jesus’s parents, although Joseph is initially scared (Matthew 1:20), and Mary begins confused and disturbed (Luke 1:29).
- It’s Jesus teaching his disciples to take deny themselves, take up their cross, leave the familiar, follow him, believe in him, sell their possessions and give to the poor, love their enemies, forgive those who wrong them, humble themselves, serve one other, go out like lambs among wolves, endure persecution for his sake, rely on him, live holy lives, and enter through the narrow gate.
- It’s Jesus not wanting the agony of cross but still choosing it (Luke 22:42).
- It’s God calling Saul to do a 180 and go from persecutor to persecuted (Acts 9:16).
- It’s God stretching Peter to embrace a bigger, more inclusive Gospel (Acts 10).
- It’s God challenging the early church to think and act radically differently than the culture around it and correcting it when it fails to do so.
- It’s God exhorting Timothy (through Paul) to step out and and minister boldly instead of being timid (2 Timothy 1:6-7).
Without a doubt, your gifts and talents are good. You should use them, develop them, and share them with others.
But remember that God is also in the business of drawing us out of our comfort zones and our places of strength into uncharted territory and postures of dependence on him.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10