This week, I’ve talked about the many different ways that God works through his children. God extends our heart to people in different realms – either nearby or spread around the world. He gifts us in many different ways and even works through us in ways that are different from our gifts. All of these differences display the myriad grace of God.
God also gives his children different passions (cares or concerns) and different opportunities. Now, certainly, not every desire is from God and not every door of opportunity is meant to be walked through. When we think about passions and opportunities, much care, prayer, and counsel can be helpful in determining if they are from God or not. But, that’s not the point of this post. Instead, I simply want us to think about how God gives all of us different passions and different opportunities to serve even as he’s also extending our hearts to people in different areas (nearby or around the globe) and even as he’s gifting us in different ways.
A good friend of mine enjoys working on cars. He uses that passion as a means of serving people. I don’t like working on cars, and know very little about cars themselves. But, there are other things that I’m passionate about. My goal is to allow God to use those passions and concerns as a means to serve others.
In the same way, God has given me certain opportunities that other people do not have. He gives those people opportunities that I do not have. Those opportunities can show up in their vocation, the place they live, their families, almost any aspect of life.
The question is: are we using our passions and opportunities for our own benefits, or do we see them as ways for God to work through us to increase and impact his kingdom?
As with spiritual gifts and as with how God extends your heart (i.e. to a specific group of people nearby or to groups of people spread around the globe), there are no good or bad passions and opportunities as long as they are from God and submitted to him. And, also as with those other things given by God, we tend to assume that people should have the same passions as us or that they should act on the same opportunities that God has given us.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I think it’s wonderful when a group of Jesus’ disciples work together to serve others. But, that does not mean that we all have the same passions and opportunities. Even when serving together, the diversities among us complement each other and again display God’s glory in so many different ways.
I think Paul sums up the point of this short set of quotes (I guess it’s a series) in his first letter to the church in Corinth:
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. (1 Corinthians 12:4-7 ESV)
So, celebrate the diversity of gifts, kinds of services, and types of activities! Exhort one another to direct those works of the Spirit for the benefit of people. Don’t expect people to serve in the same way that you do. Instead, observe how God works through them differently and praise him for it!