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“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”

– Ephesians 4:11-13

I have a lot of hobbies. Many of these involve working with my hands and tinkering in some fashion. In all of these, it is important to have the right tool for the job. Some might say that is a requirement, but I would disagree. There are a lot of tools you could use to tighten a bolt (a crescent wrench, a socket, pliers, impact driver, etc) but depending on the situation, some of these tools might be more effective than others. Each of them is unique and shines in different scenarios while still accomplishing the same task. A crescent wrench is ideal if you do not know the diameter of the bolt head. A socket and ratchet would be best to get into a space that does not have much clearance. Pliers might not be the best tool for tightening bolts, but they can get the job done if you are lacking other options. An impact driver is perfect for removing bolts that are rusted in place or covered in layers of dried paint. Again, all slightly different situations, but still the same tasks of tightening (or loosening) bolts.  It takes a whole toolbox full of different tools to be prepared for any job.

We have all been given a task – a mission if you will – to spread the Word of God to others. Just like the task of tightening bolts, there are often unique situations that dictate the best approach. Many would consider sharing God’s Word to be the job of a pastor, but how would a person who refuses to step into a church on a Sunday morning ever hear a sermon? Someone who is fluent in Spanish would be much more suited to be a missionary to a Spanish-speaker than someone who is fluent in Japanese. A person who has experienced homelessness might understand hunger or the need for shelter and community more than the average person.

Going back to the toolbox analogy, just because a certain tool is not right for a given task does not mean that it is broken or useless! A hammer should not be discarded because it fails to cleanly cut a piece of wood in half. Each tool brings different value to the toolkit and is better suited to accomplish different tasks. The same is true for us as part of God’s family. We all have different strengths and abilities that can all serve the same purpose of glorifying our God. Just because you do not have the gift of preaching does not mean you can’t tell others about Christ. And just because you might not be good at teaching does not mean you can’t share your experience with others!

God uses each of us to accomplish his mission and gives us all different gifts to accomplish that mission in different ways to minister to different people. What an encouragement to know that God can use each of us in a unique way, a way that no one else can fill! We call this idea vocation (see the study on vocation for a more in depth look at the idea). God gives us all different vocations that we can use to spread his love to unique groups of people.

 Discussion/Journal Questions

  • What is one thing you are good at that others might not be good at?
  • How can you be God’s light to the world while using that gift?


God, I thank you for making me with unique talents that only I have. Please help me to discover your call in my life so I can use my gifts to serve your people every day. Amen.