This year, I’m enjoying a small group study on Discipleship at Second Presbyterian Church. We’ve been discussing what discipleship means to us, how we can better follow the Lord and do the work he is inviting us to do in the world.
One interesting topic is how to know what kinds of things the Lord asks of us. Does he want us to become missionaries in Africa? Does he want us to serve the poor and the homeless in our own city? What should we do?
We are discussing the fact that God has given each of us certain gifts which he intends for us to use for the betterment of this world he created. There are many types of gifts, such as: discernment, faith, evangelism, serving, music, wisdom, hospitality, intercession, and teaching. Once we can see our spiritual gifts, we’re more likely to realize ways of using them for God’s glory. The underlying theme is that God is not asking us to force ourselves to do extraordinary things, to take on tasks for which we feel unequipped.
Sometimes it’s the seemingly little things that make a big difference. If we can go about our days with our eyes, ears and hearts open, we will see all sorts of opportunities to love God and love our neighbors by using our gifts. For example:
Last week, I called the mother of a friend of mine because she has been collecting old books for me on Franciscan spirituality. This sweet lady is about 80 years old and her husband is 82. She started telling me all about how she cares for her husband who is suffering from dementia, and about her fears of it becoming Alzheimer’s. She said a friend of hers recommended that she get in contact with the local Alzheimer’s Association to get info about support groups, rides, etc. I could tell from the way she was talking that she really wanted to get in touch with them but didn’t know how. I said, “Let me see if I can find their number.” So, I pulled up the Alzheimer’s Association on the internet and gave her the local number. She was so grateful! She kept saying, “Oh, this is really an answer to prayer.” The whole thing was amazing because it was obvious to me that God inspired me to call her because she needed help (not to find out about the books). What I did for her was so simple (and easy for me) – but it made a big difference to her. This is how God works.
Let’s go about our days in the confidence that God will show us exactly how, when and where to use our spiritual gifts. Each moment has the potential to be a discipleship moment.