Every Christian is not a preacher, but every Christian can preach (publicly proclaim or teach). Understanding this difference heavy influences your relationship with God and what you believe about the gift he’s given to you (or if he’s gifted you at all).
If you believe that God only empowers people to speak, you’ll accept the idea that only preachers are important to God. This is one of the biggest misconceptions that I believe has been taught to people about their gifts. See by nature, we as humans use our gifts to define our identity. If you can sing, you accept that you’re a singer. If you can paint, you accept that you’re a painter. This means that thousands, if not millions of humans have concluded that because they don’t "do public speaking," their gift in God’s world is somehow inferior.
I’ve personally counseled many people about their purpose and discovered that many are confused about their “why” in life, simply because sermons don’t publicize the importance of God’s gifts in everyday life. They have concluded that unless you’re preaching, your life isn’t effective.
It’s important to consider that all of God’s gift are not expressed orally. In fact, 81% of the New Testament was not even shared through speaking, they were letters written! Even the 10 commandments were given in written form before they were spoken.
In the same year that I became a Christian, I simultaneously discovered that I had a gift to understand technology and create the future. The problem was that the only gifts I heard about in Sunday School were all centered around making you a better preacher. As a result, it took over 20 years to realize that I had a gift from God to code. (Yes, God empowers humans to create the future. See 1 Chronicles 12:32). I didn’t know that he had equipped me with the skills to understand tech and gave me an opportunity to improve the lives of others with it.
Before I prove my point with scripture, let’s do some simple math. There are 52 Sundays in a year and the average local church may have one mid-week service. That’s 104 opportunities for someone to preach at church in a year. According to a study published in 2011, the average church in America has less than 75 members. So if you attend a church this size, you would have at best one chance to preach in a calendar year if your gifts were just for church. That does not scale well at all if the church actually grows beyond 100.
But what about preaching outside the church? Again, with this logic, you are suggesting that whatever job, career, or family someone has, it is inferior to being called to preach. Can’t a job or art be a calling? Was not Michelangelo called to paint the Sistine Chape ceiling?
If the premise of God gifting someone, is that he only empowers you to preach, what does the painter do with the brush in their hand? What does the mechanic do with their tools? What about the introverted or those not gifted for public speaking?
I’m suggesting very plainly to you that God has given you a gift, skill, or talent that brings him honor and improves the lives of others outside of Sunday morning. That his will is for every human to make an impact on someone else’s life, whether they’re scrubbing toilets in an office building, leading the conference call in the meeting room, or designing the blueprints for the next phase.
My purpose in sharing this insight is not to give you a list. A list can often be limiting in discovering whether or not God is doing something new with you. For me, coding didn’t exist when the Bible was written. However, there is one scripture that proves my point and provides guidance for those in search of a higher meaning within life.
“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Look, I have specifically chosen Bezalel son of Uri, grandson of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts. He is a master craftsman, expert in working with gold, silver, and bronze. He is skilled in engraving and mounting gemstones and in carving wood. He is a master at every craft!” - Exodus 31:1-5 (NLT)
Wow! God was very direct in his conversation with Moses. This man was given the spirit of God to create. Not to prophesy, preach, or communicate anything orally, but rather to demonstrate God’s creativity through crafts!
God has invested something valuable inside of you. It may not be for the church building or a Christian conference. That however doesn’t mean it’s any less valuable or unusable.
God can inspire you to:
Whatever you do, you have a responsibility to do it in a way that honors God (or reflects his qualities). The gift you have may not make you a preacher, but it still may be used to tell others about God’s goodness.
“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” - 1 Corinthians 10:31 (NLT)
My challenge to you today is to assess what you do exceptional well, and start calling it a gift. If you’re confident in that area, begin praying about his God can use your exceptionalism to bring him honor, every day!