Being useful – Five truths when you feel like you have nothing to offer

Exodus 35-36

Think you have nothing to offer? You’re wrong.

You’re fresh out of school, applying for work everywhere, watching door after door shut in your face, and you’re already in conflict. “What am I doing with my life?  Am I just wasting my time?” Or perhaps you’re already employed, but you’re uncertain what you have to offer.  Insecurity boils within you:  “Am I an asset to my company? My family? Anyone at all?”

This is me pretty much every day.  Hopefully you can identify with that sentiment. However, the chapters I read today reminded me of this truth:

You’re not an accident. Don’t sell yourself short; God isn’t keeping you alive just to torture you. You have something to contribute, so don’t waste your life on your doubts.

Everyone has something to give.  I’m not talking about in a church setting, necessarily.  This world needs you.

The Bible provides ample instruction about giving. When Moses and his million-man posse go about building the tabernacle, everyone pitches in, somehow.  Check out the verses as you read how it works:

1) Obedience to God should precede giving. (35:1-3) If you plan on doing “God’s work” — whatever that might mean — it’s important to think about your attitude toward Him and examine your lifestyle. It’s like doing the smell check on your pants before putting them on for day two.

2) Whoever is willing. (35:5) The people of Israel didn’t just show up out of obligation.  Check your motives before you step into something out of pressure or perceived expectations. Just because you’re “supposed to” is a terrible reason to give of yourself, and most people can see right through the half-efforts.

3) Use your gifts. (35:10, 20-29) We all have something to give Him. What do you have?

Your stuff. (35:22-24) Do you have excess?  If you’re looking to upgrade your 4G phone after six weeks of being bored, you do have money to blow.  How about using what you have to change someone else’s world?

 Your abilities. (35:30-33, 36:1-2) If you have special talents, this world needs you to provide a little color.  Handiwork, art, or even communication. And you don’t always have to try to make money off of it. See “Your Stuff” above for that one.

Your efforts. If you have arms and legs and you’re reasonably healthy, you can contribute.  Ask a neighbor or friend what you can do for them.  They’ll at least appreciate your availability, and you’ll be serving the Lord at the same time.

4) Whoever is called. (35:21) Now, don’t get too excited.  If you’re like me and you like getting the nod of approval for your efforts, you’re prone to burnout — in a church setting or not.  Check with God and make sure that’s what He wants you to do, and it’s not some knee-jerk reaction to your insecurity.

5) Enough is enough. (36:4-7) Similar to whether or not you’re called, you should always be careful to check if your services are actually needed.  Worship team already has a full band? It’s all good — there are other places and opportunities to use your skills.  If the glass is full, stop pouring water into it.

You can now go back to whatever you’re doing, or watching. But please, don’t forget that God wants you, every day.

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