…not a talent issue.
Last night on the Kidmin1124 radio show on CMConnect, I once again got into some passionate prose, but failed to remember that some listeners may not know me in the capacity that the panelists know me. I felt the need to clarify what I mean when I say we should do all things with excellence.
As we discussed large group teaching, we were in a conversation about various methods. I implored those serving in children’s ministry that whatever method they chose to incorporate into their large group teaching, do it with excellence or don’t do it all. Wayne brought some nice balance to that conversation, but I still felt that some loose ends were left. (I’ve embedded the audio from the show tonight below.)
Serving with excellence is not to be equated with serving with talent. There are many very talented people who do what seems to be a great job, but fail to serve with excellence. I know, because I’ve been that person more times than I care to admit. Because of a charming stage presence and some natural communication giftings, I have been known to appear to do well even with little preparation. That will never be considered serving with excellence.
On the very opposite side, I have known and witnessed many who serve with fewer of the natural giftings in stage presentation, but serve with greater excellence than myself. It’s because they have committed to give God their very best. They operate not in natural giftings, but through the gift of the Holy Spirit.
I’m reminded of the story of David being chosen as the next king of Israel. Though all of his brothers seemed to have the better ability to serve as king, God chose the one whose heart was right. As I taught this story at our last family experience, I said it this way. God didn’t need a king who was good in battle, who was strong or even talented, He could do all those things on His own. He needed a king who heart was set on worship.
I’m also reminded of the woman who gave just two minas when the Pharisees gave so much. But they gave out of their abundance. She gave out of her sacrifice. Jesus brought honor to the woman and shame to the Pharisees. I believe he is teaching me this lesson still. When I serve out of my ability, I serve out of abundance. When I give Him more than I have to give, when I offer my best and then some, when I have nothing left to give, that’s when I’ve truly served with excellence.
Another thing that was recently dropped into my heart, one that I was intending to write a blog post on soon, is also about David. It’s when he purchases the threshing floor even though it is offered to him for free. He says something so profound. He says, “I won’t sacrifice to God if it doesn’t cost me something.” What if we applied that same line of thinking to our lesson preparation. I won’t teach this to kids unless it costs me my time and energy. Not the extra time and energy I have, but out of my sacrifice.
Now, I will not pretend to be perfect in this area. I often rely on my own God-given talents instead of my God-given assistant, the Holy Spirit. I challenge others to serve with excellence, to give their all to kidmin, while secretly I sometimes struggle to prepare before Saturday night or even Sunday morning. I can honestly say that God is working on me in this area and with each passing week I get better.
Have you ever struggled in this area? How have you overcome serving out of ability (abundance) instead of out of the heart (sacrifice)?