Recently, a major seminary surveyed its graduates, only to discover that barely 30 percent actually made it to the pastorate. The number of students and graduates often defines success for a seminary, with little regard to whether they continue into the ministry.
Timothy was already in the ministry, and Paul exhorted him to “stop neglecting the spiritual gift within you.” This is in reference to the charisma that equipped him (and all believers) for a specific kind of ministry in the church. He may have gotten so involved in other aspects of the ministry that he was neglecting his gift.
Attempting to serve in an area for which one is not gifted can result in burnout, so Timothy had to be reminded, “Stir up the gift of God which is in you” (2 Tim 1:6).
Paul knew there were other temptations for a young leader, so He exhorted Timothy to “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus . . . Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” He warned him not to get “entangled” in the “affairs of everyday life.” And finally, he was to “flee from youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace . . . with a pure heart” (2 Tim 2:1, 3–-6, 22).
Spiritual gifts are divided into two categories: “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another . . . If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers [serves], let him do it as with the ability which God supplies” (1 Pet 4:10–-11). Therefore, a person has either a speaking gift (to accurately communicate God’s word) or a serving gift (to reflect the serving spirit of Jesus).
Every believer receives a spiritual gift to serve others, “but the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all” (1 Cor 12:7); “having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them” (Rom 12:7). We are commanded to use our spiritual gifts for the benefit of others.
As you mature in ministry, others will see and confirm your gifts. Have people affirmed areas in which you are gifted? Ask them.
“Thank You, Lord, for investing in my life and enabling me to fulfill Your purpose for my life. May this satisfy my hunger to be useful to Your kingdom.”