Custom Made to Make a Mark (What are your strengths?)

Imagine trying to hammer a nail with a watch. I’ve tried it. It doesn’t work too well.

But that doesn’t mean the watch is bad. It means the watch is custom made to tell time (not hammer a nail).

Or imagine trying to drink some water through a highlighter. I’ve tried that too. That also doesn’t work.

But that doesn’t mean the highlighter is bad. It means the highlighter is custom made to highlight things in a book (not be used as a straw).

Things are custom made for a certain purpose.

So are people.

You are custom made to make a mark only you can make.

In Psalm 18, not only did David say that God was his strength (verse 1), but that God GAVE him his strength for battle (verse 39). I think the same is true for you.

In life, your strengths may not be for the battlefield; but in the battlefield of life you still have strengths.

And those strengths are a part of your custom made design. God gave them to you to be a part of your unique imprint on the world.

There’s another passage that’s really helpful. In a letter in the 1st century the apostle Peter warns his readers that the end could come at any moment. In light of that fact, they should pray; they should “love each other deeply”; they should “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling”; and then this:

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”

Notice that it’s an URGENT task. It’s like he’s saying that Jesus could come back at any moment, so you’d better get doing what you were made to do!

I should say that the “gifts” Peter talks about aren’t exactly the same as “strengths” – but there is some overlap. And when you stack up what Peter says alongside what we read…

  • in Ephesians 2:10 that “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do,”
  • and in Psalm 139 how David knew God created “his inmost being” and knit him together in his mother’s womb, rendering him “fearfully and wonderfully made”…

a pattern starts to emerge. And that pattern is this:

You are custom made to make a mark only you can make.

Even if someone else has your strengths or gifts, they’re not living your life; they don’t interact with the same people you do, and they don’t get into the same situations that you do.

Therefore, only you can make the mark you were custom made to make.

So at this point, maybe you’ve come along with me and agree. But perhaps you’re still not sure what your strengths are.

If so, maybe you should ask yourself these 3 questions:

1. What do I enjoy doing?

You and I were made for joy. So what we en-joy doing is sometimes a clue to a God-given strength. Keep in mind, however, that it needs to honour God. If you enjoy pea-shooting people in the back of the neck at McDonald’s I’m pretty sure that’s not what God has in mind.

Ask yourself, “What do I enjoy doing?” Make a list.

2. What do others praise me for?

This question helps because we’re often not the ones who know our strengths best. Sometimes our perception of ourselves is too tainted by pride or self-deprecation.

It’s often the people we trust who can see things we can’t. What do others say you do well? Make a list.

3. What serves others?

Here’s what Peter said: “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”

The idea is that each person has received a gift to serve others. The same is true for your strengths. This lines up perfectly with the greatest commandment to love God and our neighbours.

In fact, when you use your strength to serve others, you are being a dependable caretaker (“faithful steward”) of the gift (or strength) God has given you to use in this short life.

Hammering a nail with a watch?

I think that the intersection of these three questions reveals a strength God gave you for the battle of life. To be a part of your unique imprint on the world.

Do you sometimes get frustrated? Well, just remember trying to hammer a nail with a watch or using a highlighter as a straw. Just because they can’t do those things well doesn’t mean they’re bad. It just means they were custom made for something else.

Just like you.

Take a close look at the strengths God gave you, thank him for them, dust them off, and put them into action.

Things are custom made for a certain purpose. So are people. Your strengths are clues to what God will do through only you.

So give it a think. You do well when you do well what you do well.

You are custom made to make a mark only you can make.

So make it.

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