It’s not easy sometimes, especially for those of us who are natural introverts. God doesn’t see the barriers that we create for ourselves. My barrier was the fear of speaking to a group of people. I would avoid it wherever I could until the day came … when I couldn’t any more. I was literally thrown on stage by my mother to be M.C. at an early event held by our messianic fellowship (Tree of Life), simply because there was no-one else available. I did it and … reluctantly … quite enjoyed it and found myself quite natural at it. It didn’t suddenly open up a brand new ministry of public speaking in stadiums and conference halls, but it did convince me that, when push came to shove, I could do it.
This fact was brought to mind after my first few published books were hardly flying off the shelves and I realised that I needed to get out there and do some promotions in churches and messianic fellowships. This involved speaking to the public – let’s face it, I would rather eat quiche (private joke) than speak at a church – and set off a chain of events, culminating in wifey and I now organising a set of conferences, where I have been front man and teacher. God can use anybody. If he can take a tongue-tied introvert and give him the courage (and the words) to speak in front of over a hundred people at a time, then it’s time you fellow shirkers out there took note and allowed God to help you break any barriers you may have to really using the gifts He has given you.
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines. (1 Corinthians 12:7-11)
Noting that these gifts all seem to involve interactions with other people, I had always accepted these as a theoretical possibility but a personal no-go area. But, even more telling are the next few verses:
The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body–whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free–and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. (1 Corinthians 12:12-14)
You know the foot-related nursery rhyme … and this little piggy stayed at home? Well that may not be where God is calling you and for us all to function as a part of the wider body we may need to leave our comfort zones and venture forth.
This is one of the key ideas behind our conferences, the Foundations conferences held at Quinta Christian Conference Centre – we are about to gather together at Foundations 7. The conferences are for people to come and find out where they fit into the Body of Messiah. Foundations is not just about teaching and instruction, but about contributing, networking and exploration. If you want to talk about something you own that is part of your testimony, then we encourage you to bring it along for a “show and tell”. If you play a musical instrument, then bring it! We have seen many people energised and motivated into “finding their gifts” at our conferences and the best advert for them is that, even though the first three conferences were held over a fourteen month period, around half of those who came to the third one had already been to at least one of the first two!
We must rid ourselves of the safety blanket of hiding among the “laity”. Shirkers of the world unite … and get out of bed!
For the previous article in this series, click here.
For the next article in this series, click here.
To find out about MY NEW BOOK, “Hope”, click here.
You can reach Steve with any comments or questions at the Saltshakers Web Community website.
Shirkers of the world unite … and get out of bed!