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The Common Good

Did you know each and every special piece inside of you was put there for a purpose? Stop and think about that for a second. Your creativity, your drive, your energy, your compassionate heart, your ability to care for others, your ability to make money, your ability to dispense wisdom, give hugs, and dry tears – whatever it is you are good at, it was placed there for a reason. Maybe you’re the one who knows how to rally people behind a cause, or who is able to break down walls folks build to divide themselves from each other. You could be that mom who is great at effectively building into your kids, or that dad who knows how to be emotionally present for his.

Your strengths may show up in the boardroom, the golf course, or in the music you play. It could be in the way you persevere long after others have quit, and you see the reward of that labor. Maybe you’re the one who people just naturally open up to, instinctually realizing you get it. We, all of us, inspire, teach, challenge, nurture, uplift and build into each other in whatever way we are blessed if we choose to do so.

In 1 Corinthians 12:7 we are told, “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” Hmm. That means every good thing God has placed within me is meant for something, and that something should build into the common good.

Understanding this idea of my strengths serving a purpose far greater than me has revolutionized the way I view who I am and why I am here. For me, I have a tendency to want to minimize my strengths, to make light of them, minimizing or discrediting who I am. Other times, I can struggle with wanting to take all the credit, to be sure I’m acknowledged and properly recognized.

Once I began to really grab a hold of the fact that, “every good and perfect gift is from above,” (James 1:17) it changed how I operated. I can take that compliment now because I realize not doing so is also not acknowledging God working through me. I can surrender the credit I sometimes crave because I know it’s not really my credit to take anyway; it’s a gift given from God through me.

It never honors God when you and I make a decision to be less. Thinking it’s all you, or not at all about you when God is clearly choosing to work through you, keeps you from really embracing the amazing man or woman God designed you to be. You miss all the incredible ways, big and small, He is working through you to create a better world.

So how are you using your gifts God’s Spirit has placed within you? How are you doing at acknowledging and embracing them? But be aware—the more we grab a hold of God’s gifting in each of our lives to use for His good purposes, the more gifts and blessings He gives!

For Further Thought: What is one gift God has placed within you that you have a hard time acknowledging and embracing? What is one gift within you that is easy for you to minimize or make light of? How might God be looking to use these internal gifts to encourage and build into others? If you’re up for the challenge, look for someone you can share this gift with as a way to honor God.

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