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Find Your Place In Ministry
PMP Part 3: Natural Talents and Learned Skills

God gave each of us natural talents. Some of us have a talent for music, others for carpentry, and still others have other natural talents. Natural talents are different from spiritual gifts in that every person, whether they are Christians or not, have natural talents. God gave us these natural talents for the distinct purpose of bringing Him glory. While we may use these talents for things that seem "secular," or apart from the church, everything we do should be as a ministry unto God. Also, we should try to use our natural talents within the Body of Christ, as well.

"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ."
Colossians 3:23-24

This concept of our "secular" activities extending into our ministry includes more than natural talents. The vocational and other learned skills that we have accumulated over the course of our lifetime should also be considered a part of our PMP. We must all realize that our ministry is not limited to the church building, but should extend to every aspect of our lives at every moment.

"Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!"
Psalm 90:17

Perhaps the strongest example of how natural talents and learned skills can be used in determining your place in ministry is in the life of the apostle Paul. Paulís two primary skill elements surrounded his trade as a tentmaker (or worker with leather, Acts 18:3) and his training as a Pharisee (Philippians 3:5-6). In several cities, such as Athens and Thessalonica, Paul used his vocation as a tentmaker as an "excuse" to be in the marketplace. While in the marketplace, his superior training as a Pharisee gave him authority and ability in debate and preaching (Acts 17:17, 1 Thes 2:9).

On a piece of paper, prayerfully think through the natural talents and learned skills that God has given you over the course of your lifetime. As you consider these various skills, begin to consider possible ways that God wants you to use these talents and skills in ministry within His body, so that He might receive the glory for the use of those talents and skills.

"Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!"
Psalm 115:1

On a piece of paper, make a chart with a list of natural talents and learned skills down the left-hand column. Then, in the right-hand column, prayerfully consider some ways that God may be asking you to use those talents and skills in ministry, both within the church and as a way to bring glory to Himself in the "secular" world.

For help in filling in this chart, consider your spiritual gifts. Are any of these gifts the product of a "God-empowered talent"? Sometimes (but not always) God chooses to take the talents He has already given us and glorifying them into spiritual gifts.

"Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What's a sundial in the shade?"
Benjamin Franklin


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Find Your Place ©2001, Andrew P. Kulp

 

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