I love technology. Or I should say.... I am a sucker for new gadgets. Honestly, it's ridiculous. I like new kitchen gadgets, home gadgets, computers, tablets, cell phones, and more. Fortunately, I know better than to give into 99% of my whims, or we'd be up to our eyeballs in gadgets and deep in debt. But I do love them.
There is one area in which I struggle (or refuse) to make the switch to the digital era. It's with my bible. I just can't do it. Of course I'll use my phone or the bible app when I'm on the run, or if I need to share a verse and can't remember exactly where it is. Or... like this morning in church... when I realized I left my bible in Ariel's preschool room when I dropped her off. I felt very "naked" without my bible and journal during the sermon. I love taking notes and writing things in the margins of my bible. I want my pages to turn and the tangible familiarity of "home" when studying God's word. I didn't want to miss any of the sermon to go get it. I was not going to risk the wrath of an upset three year old by going in her room to get it, so I disappointingly settled for my phone.
We are in the middle of a sermon series called "Serving You? Becoming Selfless in a Selfie World." Our pastor had us reading in Galatians 5 and 1 Corinthians 12. I decided I would try the note taking section of my bible app. If I take notes, I seem to remember more of what I hear. One of the points was that when we serve, we ought to really try to serve in areas where we are gifted. You know... find the area that makes you thrive and serve there. If we are serving in the wrong area, it can end up a little like this: Click this link, then come right back! You'll want to finish this!
To summarize the pastor's point, I typed "In order to serve other in most effective way, we must serve in the areas of our giftedness." The autocorrect on my phone corrected it and made it say that "we must serve in the areas of our gifted mess."
I didn't hear any more of the sermon. Sorry, Jay. I sat there in awe. Isn't that the truth? We must all serve in the areas of our gifted messes? Let's face it. We are all messes. Serious messes. We have struggles, addictions, tendencies, deep ridden anger and bitterness. We are jealous, we gossip, we manipulate, we dream of how life could be different rather than be grateful for all of our blessings. We put God in a box based on our life experiences, and even in our best efforts to represent him, we fail miserably. Yet, we serve. And we really should find areas that make us thrive, but still, we serve. In the midst of our mess and our transparency, God works in and through us. He reaches others through our brokenness.
My kids keep bugging me about studying our family tree. I really need to look into it, but I haven't made it a priority. I do love hearing about the lineage of people, especially the lineage of Jesus. Have you read it lately? Do you know who is in the bloodline of Jesus? A short synopsis... prostitutes, adulterers, seducers, cultural outcasts, deceivers, shepherds (lowly occupation), and those who were virtually unknown. That list sounds and feels uncomfortably familiar. While we may have not done all of those things, we've been at least one. Ever lied? Ever manipulated? Ever had a cruddy job? Ever felt virtually unknown by everyone around you? Please tell me everyone has their hand up.
Do you hold back because you don't think you have anything to offer? Do you think your messes make you incapable or invaluable? Do you think your broken places disqualify you from the race? If I had a buzzer I'd make the big sound now. It doesn't! It actually makes you incredibly valuable. When you're willing to be you and share you, you help others realize that Jesus will meet them where they are. Jesus will help them to clean up their messes. Jesus can actually use them to speak into the lives of others.
Step up. Serve... in the area of your gifted-mess.
Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 2 Corinthians 12:9