‘There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance; nothing to attract us to him.’
Isaiah 53 vs 2
Theresa, Nightingale, Luther – one thing they all have in common.
They put others before self – how they were perceived or felt.
What impresses God is often the opposite of what impresses the world. In other words, more often than not, those that serve God are usually unattractive to the world; no status, no power and influence – nothing to encourage others to follow suit.
My messages during the past few weeks were designed to awaken you to the reality of who you are; and how, despite thinking you’re unworthy of God’s calling as a result of what you have or haven’t done, you nonetheless retain an anointing to serve him – not by your will but by his ever-present grace and mercy.
Today we delve a little deeper into that all-powerful reality.
Do not expect the world’s adulation and glory. For that is not God’s way or desire.
I experienced one of those rare light bulb moments, whilst watching The Bible mini-series a few weeks ago. In the scene in which he meets Peter for the first time, Jesus is walking on a hill wearing little more than a tunic and sandals; nobody with him, no pomp and ceremony. I thought to myself, ‘that’s the son of God, just walking by himself like any other lowly individual! Incredible!!!’. And it suddenly struck me – ‘to serve God is never about pomp and ceremony, but simply doing his will – touching lives without noise or desire for attention; simply getting on with it, regardless of how you feel or how others perceive you’.
Not easy though is it!?
For we have an inherent desire to be appreciated, approved of, praised, and adored. One could say it’s an accidental flaw of human nature.
There are four crucial points to remember as you embark on your journey.
- Recognise and respect your talents
The first thing you must do is recognise the talents God gave you. And in order to do this, it is best to let go of what you think they are, and go back to basics.
The best way to do this is to identify two / three things you’ve done in your life that you’re very proud of. It can be anything, ranging from making your first meal, to going on your first date, to passing an exam, or winning a tournament of sorts.
Then pinpoint the talents or characteristics you used to achieve each one. By so doing, you connect with what lies within; in other words, you identify the talents and attributes / characteristics that make you who you are.
Appreciate your talents and attributes.
Make a decision to not only develop them but also no longer yearn for or try to copy those of others. The only person that can be a great Joe Blogs is Joe Blogs. And the only person that can be a great you is you. God gave you your talents for a reason.
Half-way through a session I ran for students at West Herts College recently, one of the students was feeling very discouraged, as he felt he didn’t have any talents. By the time we identified some of his past achievements (which he had unfortunately viewed as nothing special), he realised he did in fact have some very powerful talents.
He had been comparing himself to others and hence was unable to recognise and appreciate his own particular talents and attributes.
Struggles and Challenges
Please note, I’m not talking about church on Sundays here. I’m talking about using your talents to positively impact people’s lives on a daily basis.
There will be struggles and challenges. They are part and parcel of everyday life. The fact that God has anointed you to do something doesn’t exclude you from the enemy’s attacks. On the contrary, the mere fact that you’re God’s precious child guarantees ongoing challenges and problems, as the last thing the enemy wants is for you to achieve what you were created for.
There will be several moments when you feel like giving-up; when you’re angry with God and want to be left to your own devices. It will be a long and at times tortuous journey. Just ask David – twenty years between being anointed king and actually becoming king.
Hang in there and keep going.
What’s the point? What difference can I possibly make?
These are questions that will taunt you time and time again. There will be moments when you wonder what the point is. You keep plugging away but seem to be making little difference; regularly wanting to jack it all in and slip away unnoticed.
There is but one vital thing to remember. And that is that it isn’t about the numbers, but about that one individual whose life is touched by your calling. Focus not on glory and fame, but on making a difference, one person at a time.
You may have heard this story before, but hey, whoever said a little revision is bad for you!?
Whilst walking his dog on the beach one Saturday morning, an old man sees a young lad picking up star fish which have been washed on-shore overnight and throwing them back into the sea. Rather startled by what he believes to be a futile mission, the old man says to the boy;
“Young man, what on earth are you doing?”
The boy replies, “I’m throwing the star fish back into the sea.”
“But there are thousands of them! What possible difference do you think you can make??” asks the old man.
The boy bends down, picks up a star fish, throws it into the sea, and replies, “It will make a difference to that one.”
Take your mind off the glory and fame of touching thousands and millions, and focus on positively impacting one life at a time.
Jesus was unattractive and undesirable to the world. And yet, he continues to change it, one life at a time.