November 9: God-given abilities

If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

1 Peter 4:11

Perhaps you’ve noticed that we’ve been looking at the phrase “God giveth” in the Bible. It’s been helpful to see what things we can be grateful for that are the “gifts of God.”

Today, we see our ministry ability – is God-given. Not that it’s surprising. What can lowly man do for an omnipotent God? Not much. And since the very dust that we are made of (Genesis 2:7) is made by Him (John 1:3), are not the talents that we claim to have developed His gifts as well?

The challenge that I often see – is that I want to do something for God. I want to be a success for Him. I want to make a big impact for Him, and perhaps for people to know that I made a big impact for Him. The problem is the word “I.” I have no innate ability – all the ability I have to use for God, was given by Him. Yes I have a duty to be a good steward – but stewards / vilici aren’t supposed to get too much attention. In fact, bad things happened to Joseph when he started to get attention as the steward of Potiphar’s house (Genesis 39:7).

Jim Collins, author of Good to Great discusses “Level 5 Leadership” at the core of companies that surpassed their competitors and the economy as a whole. These leaders are a “powerful mixture of personal humility and indomitable will.”

The eleven good-to-great CEOs are some of the most remarkable CEOs of the century, given that only eleven companies from the Fortune 500 met the exacting standards for entry into this study. Yet, despite their remarkable results, almost no one ever remarked about them! … The good-to-great leaders never wanted to become larger-than-life heroes. They never aspired to be put on a pedestal or become unreachable icons. They were seemingly ordinary people quietly producing extraordinary results.

In the book he mentions “servant leadership” but was afraid that would scare off his readers, so he calls it “Level 5.” But as students of the Bible, we would understand the term “servant leadership.” We’re not the hero. God is.

As we pray, let’s seek His help to direct he praise to where it belongs – with Him!

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