What Can I Do?
Taking a sewing class while I was in junior high only confirmed what I had already suspected. Unlike my mother and sister, who are very talented seamstresses, I do not have the “gift” for sewing. While I did successfully make a skirt and vest in that class, I had help. Lots of help. I did not realize at the time that there are many other crafting talents a person might have, but a few years later I began to discover some that I could do with better results.
Have you ever wondered, “What can I do for God? What gifts or talents do I have?” When we are saved, we have a natural desire to serve God and help others to find the peace and joy that we have found. Yet, we may feel we don’t have any abilities that could be useful in winning souls for Jesus. Don’t despair; God has a job just for you!
We all have different personalities, hobbies, interests, and talents, many of which can be used for the Lord once we are saved. Paul alluded to this in Romans 12:5-8 saying, “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.” It is important not to look at what others are doing and say, “I can’t do what they do, so God can’t use me.” God has many ways He uses people for His purposes.
Perhaps we are unsure what gifts we have. Here are a few thoughts that might help us discover what they are and how to use them for the Lord.
What is a gift?
Webster defines a “gift” as “a notable capacity, talent, or endowment.” At first, we might think of gifts that can be used for the Lord as only being spiritual talents, but there are many types of gifts that God can use for the benefit of His kingdom. One key is doing what we can with a willing and loving heart.
Everyone has gifts, regardless of their age, education, or station in life. We may discover different ones throughout our lives, and opportunities to use them may come and go over the years. For instance, I’m not a young person, but I learned to play the ukulele just a few years ago and have been able to play in a serenaders’ group at church on occasion. On the other hand, I sang in our church choir for most of my life until a few years ago when I started having trouble with my voice. Now, my choir days are over (at least for now). Seasons of life will come and go, but if we are willing to work for the Lord in whatever ways we can, He will use us.
How to discover your gifts
Prayer. Once we are saved, it is good to look to God for His direction in how we can work for Him. He has a plan for our lives, and that plan includes helping others make it to Heaven. When we are in tune with Him, He will lead us to areas where we can be useful.
Prayer itself is a gift everyone has. We can all pray! It is a privilege and a responsibility. Even if we never discover any other gift, this one is essential. My great-grandmother found this to be her greatest calling in life. As she prayed for her baptism and consecrated all to God, He let her know that her mission field was praying for her family. She did so faithfully through the years and her descendants became pastors, ministers, musicians, Sunday school teachers, and the list goes on. Her prayers made a difference!
Willingness. Some tasks don’t require a special talent, but just a willing heart. In some cases, we may not feel we have much of a gift in a particular area, but if we are willing, God can provide what we need. For instance, a song sung from the heart with the Spirit of God upon it can touch others even if the soloist is not an experienced musician with a professionally trained voice. Of course, talent and training can be beneficial, but God’s Spirit is what truly makes the difference. When we are in tune with God and willing to do what we can, He will bless our efforts.
Self-examination. Asking ourselves the right questions can help us discover areas where we have gifts that can be used for God. Don’t limit yourself—He can use our abilities in surprising ways! When we consecrate our lives fully to Him, He will lead us to opportunities that we may not even have known existed.
Get a pen and paper, or make a mental list, answering the following questions. This list is just a start to get the ideas flowing. You might be surprised at how God uses your answers for His purposes if you are open to His leading. You may find you have gifts and talents you never knew you had!
- What are my skills? For instance, are you good at math, history, or writing? Do you have a good understanding of computer programs? Are you a natural at personal relations or even mediating?
- What are my hobbies and interests? Do you enjoy being physically active? Are you creative or artistic? Do you love photography, reading, building things, or have some other special interest?
- What is my personality? Are you outgoing? Friendly? Have the gift of gab? Are you a good listener? Patient? Tactful? A natural leader? Good at organizing?
- What is my financial situation? Are you fiscally responsible? Do you have more than enough?
- What is my schedule like? Do you have available free time, or a flexible schedule?
- What am I passionate about? Do you love children, young people, or the elderly? Do you have a passion for the unborn, the less fortunate, or people in general?
- What is a need that I notice around me? Do you feel the burden of the destitute? Do you see people in your church who look lonely? Do you think often about those who are not able to get out due to age or health?
Making the most of your gifts
To be used of God, of course we must first be saved. That immediately qualifies us to do many things in His service. But to be most effective for Him and prepared for whatever He would have us do, it is important to receive our deeper experiences. A fully consecrated, Spirit-filled person is one God can use best.
Some gifts can be improved upon. Consider the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25, when the servants were given resources and were expected to use and increase what they had been given. Applying that thought to our gifts, we might increase what God has given us through education and practice. These are ways to make sure we are doing our best for God.
Using your gifts
The gifts God gives us can be used in many ways, including in church services and activities, in helping family and friends, and assisting those around us in our communities. Here are some examples:
At church. There are many needs in the church, some more noticeable than others. Each service has many visible participants, including those who provide the music, testimonies, and sermon. Then there are those who run the sound system, project the words for the songs, usher, and greet visitors. In addition to service times, there are those who take care of the church grounds, garden, clean, keep the accounts, organize events, take pictures at events… the list could go on and on. Each of these tasks require different abilities, yet all are important.
Now, compare the list that you made earlier to some of these opportunities. You may find there is more than one slot you could fill. Here are a few examples of people who have used their talents for the Lord in our church.
- Skilled carpenters have built shelving, tract racks, and other items for the church and office.
- Artistic people have created lovely Sunday school bulletin boards, as well as contributed to our Sunday school curriculum for children.
- Mothers with children in school, as well as retired saints, have helped clean the church each week.
- Many are prayer warriors. Every church needs prayer warriors and there can never be too many. In fact, if every member were a prayer warrior, imagine what God could do!
- A woman took calligraphy classes out of interest in that art, and later had the opportunity to use it in making visuals for her pastor.
- Men with construction skills have helped various churches with building and repair.
Some gifts and opportunities come with a specific calling. We may feel the Lord truly impressing upon our heart His desire for us to do a particular task. God’s Spirit will reinforce this to others around us, especially to our spiritual leaders. If you are longing to do something for the Lord, talk to your pastor and share your desire.
One example is when I was asked to work for the church headquarters office. I was between jobs and had been volunteering at the office, just doing whatever was needed. Then I was asked to come aboard officially. Driving to work one day, the Lord impressed upon my heart in a special way that this was where He wanted me. Since then, I have enjoyed working in various departments and loved doing it. It has been a special privilege and blessing to work here ever since. The things God calls us to do may not seem big or important, and may not be noticeable to others, but He will bless us if we are faithful to His calling.
Among family and friends. Sometimes our talents can be used in encouraging one another. God is pleased when His children lift up each other, and it is also a testimony to the world. John 13:35 says, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” Here are some examples:
- One older lady, in her last years, would read to another with poor eyesight over the phone.
- A man with artistic talent draws beautiful greeting cards and sends them to various people, to encourage them. Other people have bought cards and sent them to church members during the pandemic.
- A lady organized and helped cook meals to be delivered to older saints and shut-ins.
- A “young at heart” lady in our church who has a magnetic personality is a friend to the young people. Even those who have left the Lord still keep in contact with her, and she is faithful to remind them of His love.
In the community. Getting involved in our communities can be a way to share the Gospel, whether we have a chance to verbally share our testimonies, or just shine our lights in small ways. Here is how some of our saints have done this:
- When a wildfire in Southern Oregon caused many to evacuate, a family went to the evacuation center and asked people what they needed and then went shopping for those items.
- One young woman has worked at a center for children who have been impacted by suicide.
- Another woman used her talents at a center for pregnant women who lack resources.
- An older couple spent every Thanksgiving of their later years serving meals at a homeless mission.
- Another young person met regularly with immigrants to help them improve their English skills.
- Others have reached out personally via phone calls, texts, and social media to encourage people during the Covid crisis.
- An older man used to pray every day for an opportunity to share Jesus, then leave his house with tracts in his pocket. God brought many people his way and he shared the Good News.
We may never see an opportunity to use certain gifts directly for God’s kingdom. But are we using them faithfully where we can? Just doing that can be a testimony to those around us. When we use our skills to the best of our ability at work, our employers and coworkers will notice. Even just keeping our households in order can be a good example to others. Colossians 3:23 instructs, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord.” One young mother says as she vacuums behind the doors in her house she thinks of that Scripture and it inspires her to do her best. Even if no one notices, it is a good practice to always do our best for the Lord.
Whatever God asks us to do, let’s be faithful. Whether we have one talent or many, let’s do our best. Whatever we can do for the Lord, let’s do it cheerfully and willingly. If we are faithful in one opportunity, the Lord may bless us with others. We want to enter Heaven and hear Him say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).