All of us are happy and even more, fulfilled, when we are expressing the character and gifts that reflect who we really are. Often we get a revealing glimpse of these gifts early in life. I recall in sixth grade becoming aware of my athletic abilities as well as a propensity for encouraging others. My grandparents used to say there are moments in childhood when the door opens and the future is let in a bit.
I believe the Creator calls and enables us to achieve our God-given destiny along the line of our giftedness, but the purpose is for our stewardship and service, not selfishness. Gifts alone do not help us discern our calling. They line up in accordance with other factors such as our family heritage, experiences, our response to God’s Lordship and acceptance of His guidance, and our unrelenting readiness to do what He says and shows us.
A sense of calling should precede a choice of mate, job, and/or career, and the primary way to discover calling is along the line of what we are created and gifted to be. My parents were fond of saying, “Do what you are,” not, “You are what you do.” I grew up in a family and an environment that inspired me to be the best Mike Olejarz I could be.
In the Scriptures, gifts are not ours for our own prosperity or adulation. The Bible teaches that we have nothing that was not given to us. Our gifts are ultimately God’s, and we are called to be “stewards,” responsible for the prudent management and use of our time, talent, and treasure for the glory of God. This is why our gifts are always “for the sake of others,” whether in the community of Christ, or the broader society in which we reside.
I reflected on this reality after a Chi Alpha staff conference where I observed many of my colleagues: Dennis Gaylor, our national director, who continues to encourage people to use their gifts in various portfolios; Curtis Cole, who administrates national Chi Alpha and keeps us focused; Bob Marks, Personnel Director, who always has time to listen to the cares for our staff; Scott and Crystal Martin, who lead our movement to fulfill Christ’s global mandate; Dr. Harvey Herman, who leads our National Training Team, which is helping model and strengthen a learning and leadership culture.
Area Directors [Stefanie Chappell, Mario Solari, Eric Treuil, Steve Lehmann, Mike Amiot, Paul Austin, and Winston Bui] have worked to implement organizational best practices. Gregg Glutting trains and coaches many staff to get their budget raised. Dick and Joy Schroeder mentor and encourage many staff from their wealth of ministry.
Chi Alpha Campus Ministries, the ministry I have served in since 1982, is full of men and women who have listened to God’s call, and are using their gifts for God’s purposes.
Read 1 Timothy 1:6-14. Verse 6 says, “Fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you.”
Are you in the place where you are likely to hear God’s call? Do not make the mistake of trying to plan your career, and ignore developing the self-awareness about who you are and how God has wired you. God has created you and your gifts for a place of His choosing, and you will only be fully “you” when you are in alignment with God’s purpose. Serve globally. Do what you are. Use your gifts to build His Kingdom.
Love is a verb,
©2013 by Mike Olejarz