I’ve always wanted to be a better guitarist. I remember back in junior year of high school, me and my close friend Nikhil wanted to join Battle of the Bands. The only problem was we were terrible at guitar. But we wanted to get better. So we asked our friend Joseph if he could teach us how to play some cool riffs and runs so that we could be up at the top of the quad rocking out with him in the background smashing the drums.
When we got to his house for our first “band” practice, we spent a couple hours just dancing around our guitars as if staring at them and holding them for ten seconds before putting them down would make us into the Foo Fighters. Unfortunately, our desire to be better guitarists didn’t match our willingness to actually spend time practicing, making mistakes, and learning from them.
I think this is similar to our approach to our spiritual gifts. We spent the past few weeks learning about how God has gifted each of us (yes, even you) at least one gift that we can use to help build up our church community as one body in Christ. As we continue to seek out those gifts and pursue how we can effectively use them to minister and encourage others, there are some obstacles that may hinder our ability to actually act out these gifts in our lives.
One obstacle we might run into is neglect. Neglect is falsely thinking that we do not possess any gifts and thus are useless to the body of Christ, so we fail to use what we’ve been given. Or we may believe that we do have gifts, but don’t deem them as important as those who are “better gifted”, and so lay all the responsibility in utilizing these gifts on their shoulders. The problem with this is that those who are in those leadership positions feel pressured to continue performing and serving, which leads them to feeling burnt-out and giving up. Do you know that God has uniquely designed each and every one of us with gifts that will build up the church body? Romans 12:4-6 says, “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them…” Every gift, therefore, is crucial to the well-being of our community.
Another obstacle is complacency. This was easily seen in my desire to want to achieve guitar stardom, but not putting in the effort to practice. I think complacency stems with us not understanding the significant roles we play as members of the body of Christ and so we cruise through church and fellowship, not carrying out our gifts to their full potential or even at all. We adopt a lazy mentality, where we come to church just to be fed and leave feeling better about ourselves. As the pastor of my church in Davis once said, we like to “sit, listen, and leave”. Yet, there is a vast potential for God’s kingdom to be impacted, if we transition from sitting on the sidelines to becoming an active participant.
A third obstacle that may hinder us is fear. This was a big reason why I would always want to be a better guitarist, but never stepped into trying to be one. I was scared of making mistakes and looking like a fool, even to myself privately in my room. I was scared of others making fun of my abilities, of being open with my lack of skill level, so I just tried to convince myself I was content at being mediocre, all the while admiring better guitarists from afar and wishing I could play like them.
God does not want us to be paralyzed by fear. 1 Corinthians 12:11 says that our gifts are “empowered by one and the same Spirit”. He wants us to be confident in what He has gifted us, and not look at others’ abilities in envy, but be reassured that our gifts are unique in their own ways. As we step out of that fear in faith, we will witness God using us in drastic ways to further His kingdom. And as we learn to utilize our gifts more frequently, we will also experience a sharpening and honing of those particular gifts. Let us be a community that seeks to encourage each other to discover and develop our gifts for God’s glory!
Author: Micah Shyu