Friday, December 3, 2010

Do Your Gifts Outshine Your Character?

by flikr
 God interrupted the plans of a passionate young preacher when an older saint pulled him aside and said, “Son, you have an ocean of talent. But I’m afraid for you.”

“Why?” asked the young man.”

“Because your character is only a bucket or two deep—not nearly enough to sustain your gifts. If you’ll spend some time developing your character, God will be able to use your talents for His glory, and do mighty things with you.”

by flikr
 The young preacher was wise, and listened to the older saint. He spent the next few years developing his relationship with the Lord and his character. Now, when you hear him speak, it is from a heart of humility and love for his audience, not to display his great talent. God is using him to bless, not impress.

When I heard this true story, I wondered how I could develop my character, so the Lord would use me more.

Here is my short list of ways I need to grow:

1. Learn to wait with grace, finding ways to thank God and make myself useful in the meantime.

2. Love my audience: write, speak, pray, and sing to bless them, not impress them.

3. Develop a listening spirit to hear from God and readily obey His voice.

4. Stay steady in adversity, refusing to believe the lies of the enemy.

5. Grow in humility, realizing I’m not the gift, just the package it’s wrapped in.

6. Nurture a sense of security, so I don’t take criticism so personally.

7. Cultivate Godly wisdom, seeking His mind and heart at every turn.

8. Increase in self-discipline, not putting my flesh first.

9. Grow in diligence: the ability to stick to a task until it’s finished.

10. Mature in my trust and dependence on the Lord, not my own pea brain.

by flikr

I want to go farther, do more, and climb higher than I’ve ever dreamed, but not by myself. I want people to realize that if they see anything noteworthy in me, it’s because Jesus put it there. And I want them to want that same Jesus in their lives because of me.

Can you look back on your life and see areas in which your character has grown?


  1. My character and talents grow when I give them back to God. I humble myself and tell God that He must do ____ because I can't do it without Him.

  2. The story is lovely!

  3. #2 resonated with me. I still do things to impress more than I'd like to admit.

    A fine list.


    ~ Wendy

  4. Yes--I had one of those moments of clarity in seminary when I realized how obsessed I was with the grades. We were reading CS Lewis, and his section on pride just pinned me to the wall and left me there until it got resolved. Funny struggle for someone who always battled insecurity, but the really go hand in hand. God is good at refining, if we let him.

  5. Oh yes, and it's a blessing to see how God never gives up on us. And I suspect you are more mature in a lot of the points you listed than you think. :) We all see it here on your blog. You are a blessing.

  6. This is excellent, Jeanette. Yes, I do see how I've grown, but I usually am more aware of where I still need to grow. Painful!!

    I like the "just the package it's wrapped in" thought.

  7. Lovely post. Number three struck me the most, I think, because I've struggled with it in the past. I pray that I grow in this so my actions aren't about me or impressing others but about what God wants accomplished through me.

  8. Wow. It's like God had you write this post for me. I so needed to read this today, Jeannette. Thanks for sharing!

  9. I can see where I still need to grow. I know that the Lord is working on my pride, and letting it go to do as he wants in my life. It's been a hard road, but I'm gaining.(is that prideful???)

  10. That "bless not impress" phrase is a dandy! One of my weaknesses is impatience with a spinoff of irritability. There's always way too much about my character that needs reworking. "Mold me and make me, Lord."

  11. Hi Jen -

    I need to grow in the patience area. Publishing is giving me LOTS of experience. :)


  12. What a wise preacher that was in your story.

    I agree with your reader Jill who was stunned with the "pride" section of a C.S. Lewis book. But thank God we know what the problem is and your list is a great way to solve it. Great job.

  13. Hi Jen,

    You ask the question: "Can you look back on your life and see areas in which your character has grown? "

    A. listening more, talking less (well at least trying)
    This is the best I could come up with right now, but I'm sure after I click the publish comment bar, I will come up with a better answer :o)

    God bless your family


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