God's Job Jar
A commonly asked question during a job interview is, "What do you consider to be your major strengths and weaknesses?" You feel like the employer is memorizing your weaknesses, while ignoring your strengths. You wonder if you will ever hear, "Congratulations! You are perfect for the job!"
If you saw an advertisement in the newspaper stating, "Only the imperfect need apply", would you apply for that position? Would you admit you are not perfect? But I did read about such a position. I read about it in the Bible. You see, when God sent His Son to earth, Jesus was advertising for people to serve God. He was looking for Christians. What are the job qualifications for Christians? "Only the imperfect need apply."
Have you ever admitted to another Christian that you are not perfect? Imagine this. We are joined, hand in hand, in a prayer circle. As we go around the prayer circle, each person would list (to God and to each other) his major strengths and weaknesses. When the prayers were all said, do you think more people would feel boastful because they had exaggerated their strengths? Or would more people feel humiliated because they had admitted their weaknesses?
We would feel a little embarrassed. But, for just a moment, we would let down our defenses. We would not have to pretend that we know everything and can do everything. We would feel a bond of love and support, instead of feeling competitive, as in a job interview. Then we could join together as a family of believers to serve the Lord, without worrying about being perfect. We would feel relieved. And we would know the true joy of serving the Lord, instead of the apprehension of trying to live up to other people's expectations.
People waste so much energy trying to hide their weaknesses and trying to exaggerate their strengths. Think about how much could be accomplished if we could harness all of that wasted energy, and then use it to serve the Lord.
So when you are tempted to waste energy by keeping up your defenses, read this job advertisement. 2 Cor 12:9 "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." Congratulations! You are perfect for the job!
Checking the ads in the newspaper is one way of looking for a job. A job jar is another method for distributing tasks. Someone takes several pieces of paper and writes one job on each piece of paper. He places those pieces of paper in the job jar. Everyone then reaches his hand into the job jar and pulls out a piece of paper. You have to do whatever job is written on the piece of paper you picked.
A job jar is a random method for choosing a job. You may have no interest in or ability to do the job you picked. But God has a very special job jar. God's job jar is not random: God created each one of us with some special purpose in mind. God has a plan. (Ro 12:1-8)
From our limited human perspective, it may seem like the pieces to God's plan will never fall into place. It may seem like we have only a random chance of finding our purpose in life or of finding meaningful ways to serve. That is where faith comes in. We must believe in what is not seen. We must have the faith to believe that, no matter how things may seem, we can trust in God's wisdom and still follow His call. We must offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God. Our conviction must be backed by a life of service to God.
Our church constitution attempts to assure that we can serve in an orderly fashion. The Boards of Deacons, Deaconesses, Elders, and Trustees and the committees are set up to provide clear boundaries for various responsibilities. The structure of the boards and committees establishes lists of tasks as "package deals". For many people, this is a very convenient and effective method of serving. Just pick a board or a committee and you have yourself a ready-made list of duties.
But for many other people, this same arrangement can cause a lot of frustration. Many people need help with identifying their spiritual gifts. And a review of the boards and committees may leave them bewildered and confused. They may wonder, "What does it all mean? How can I fit into this?"
I remember when I came to our church. I wanted to be a leader. And a teacher. I wanted to be a Christ-like example. But more than anything else, I wanted to implore others to value prayer and the lessons found in the Bible as much as I do. God had given me certain gifts. I wanted to use them.
I could not fit myself into the prepackaged duties in our constitution; God created new roles for me. (Actually, God did not create new roles for me. He created me for the new roles!) He led me to these articles that I write. And He led me to the materials for the prayer classes I have taught.
Do you love the Lord? Are you looking for ways to express that love? Look at the boards and the committees to identify possible areas of service. But, please, don't be frustrated or discouraged if it doesn't just fall into place overnight. Keep trying. The constitution lists only some of the ways you might serve. So consider it a starting place, but it is by no means the only place to look for suggestions.
Try searching your Bible and our church for examples. How have other people served? How have they used their spiritual gifts? Can you identify with any of these people or their gifts? (1 Cor 12,13) What are your interests? Pray for guidance. And ask others to pray for you, too.
Even ask the minister, an elder, a board chairman, or a committee chairman for assistance. Tell him you are searching. Ask him if he can provide any scriptures that might help. Ask him to pray with you. And ask him to explain the various ministries in the church. Ask what training is available.
Pick up a book on spiritual gifts and serving at a Christian book store. Ask a leader if he can arrange any short-term assignments so that you can "get your feet wet" with various tasks. Explore ways to try a variety of things until you find something that clicks. As I said before, keep trying.
And might I offer just a bit of advice for anyone who hopes to improve our leadership or would like to become a leader someday? If you want to have good leaders, the congregation must have good followers. Those who follow and serve with respect and humility will stand out as Christ- like examples to our leaders. Our leaders will learn from our followers. And our best followers will become our best leaders.
Whether you are a leader or a follower (or a little of both), God has made you for some special job. Ask yourself, "What job might that be?" Don't be afraid to reach your hand into God's job jar. God is looking out for you!
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