By Andrew Greenhalgh, Life Group leader, Jubilee Church Wirral
Our gifts and why we should use them
Do you like social media?
Personally, I’m not the biggest fan. I could do without it. Unfortunately, though, because of my business, I can’t just stick my head in the sand and pretend it doesn’t exist. It can be a very useful tool to bring in new customers.
In the past year, I’ve been learning a lot about LinkedIn. If you’re not familiar with it, LinkedIn is the social media platform specifically for business owners, job seekers and work-related matters.
Despite most of the people I work for being other businesses, I rarely used it before we came back from Zambia.
Now, though, I post on it about three times a week. I write all sorts of posts, from business tips and salesy posts about what I do to personal posts.
Recently I wrote one about being an encourager.
It was prompted by my youngest son (10), who regularly asks me to draw for him.
As I said in my post, I’d love to be good at art.
Growing up, my sister was really good at art, and would relax with a piece of paper, on which she would sketch my parents. You could tell it was them and everything.
I was (and remain) shockingly bad at drawing.
At school, I loved French, but really didn’t like it when my teacher asked us to draw pictures and then write the French words for them alongside.
If asked to draw a cow, I would draw a rectangle, add a head and some stick legs, and write “cow” inside (see picture below).
Now, do you know what my son says when I protest that I’m rubbish at art? He says: "No you’re not daddy! You’re brilliant at drawing!”
One day the truth may hit him like a brick, but at the moment it makes me feel 10 feet tall.
For many reasons, I have struggled with self-esteem and self-confidence since childhood, so I need people like Sammy in my life – people who are encouragers.
My wife Julie and my other children are encouragers too, and I have made conscious decisions to surround myself with encouragers because I know I need them.
Now don’t get me wrong. I know I shouldn’t need to be constantly encouraged. I know that God sees me as perfect and loves me for who I am.
But I also believe that one of the ways God reminds me of that fact is through other people.
God gives us all different gifts. To some, the gift of being a natural encourager might not seem as valuable as a different kind of gift – the gift of being able to teach, or being able to lead worship.
But that’s not the case. God sees them all as equally valuable and you can bet your bottom dollar that the people who benefit from your gift certainly see it as incredibly valuable.
I don’t know what your gift is. But, thanks to 1 Peter 4:10 ("Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms”), I do know that you have one.
Note that Peter doesn’t say “if you’ve received a gift”.
He says “whatever gift you have received.”
I also know that whatever your gift is, it is valuable, and, what’s more, there are people out there who would benefit from you using it.
If you’re an encourager, then great! Encourage someone today. Send them a message, give them a call, tell them how much you value them.
Even if you’re not a natural encourager, I’d encourage you to do that. It’s not hard.
But if you don’t think you’re a natural encourager, or you’re not sure what your gift is, I would encourage you to ask God and, when He tells you what your gift is, to use it.
When I write LinkedIn posts, I always end with a question or two. It encourages engagement which gets my posts seen by more people.
I’m going to end with two questions for you.
– Do you know what your gift is?
– Have you used it today?
Andrew Greenhalgh of Jubilee Church Wirral. In his work clothes.