I’m absolutely terrible at fishing. Well, I’m great at feeding the fish, just not so great at catching them. Admittedly, I don’t really even enjoy fishing. I find both the fish and the bait slimy and smelly. I don’t like being out on a boat, I don’t like handling critters, I never got a feel for the art of “setting the hook,” and quite frankly, I’m pretty sure I just don’t have the patience for it.
But I know a guy who is good at fishing. He has all the right equipment, knows all the best techniques, and he goes fishing a lot. He is a friend of mine, and he and I happen to be alike in many ways, but also different in other ways. Fishing, for example, is both a talent and a hobby of his, but it is not either for me.
First Corinthians 12:1-11 talks about how God has created each of us to be unique with our own set of spiritual gifts. Paul goes on in verses 12-31 to explain that no matter what our gifts are, those gifts are given to us with a purpose. Paul explains that because we each have different gifts, it is like we are all members of one body that is made up of many different parts. Each different part has its own job to do to help keep the whole body working. We are unique, but we depend on each other.
Now, you might be thinking, “What does fishing have to do with spiritual gifts? I thought spiritual gifts were just things like preaching, teaching, organizing a Bible study, or singing in worship…you know, church stuff.” Look at verse 11 again. Paul says that the gifts we are given are allotted to each of us individually just as the Spirit chooses. So if the Holy Spirit chooses what gifts to give us, then surely each gift has a purpose. This is what is so special about my friend’s gift for fishing. While there may be nothing inherently spiritual about being good at fishing, my friend has realized his talent as a spiritual gift by choosing to use it in a spiritual way.
He has told me about how he finds God in and around him every time he takes to the water. I’ve heard about how the spectacular sunrises he has experienced make known to him in a very real way God’s presence with him there on a crisp, cool morning. I’ve heard about how God has used an accident that was almost very serious to bring about change in his life. I’ve heard about how the relaxing atmosphere on the calm, quiet water has yielded to conversations between my friend and his own son that over the years have brought them both closer together and closer to God. And I can’t count how many times I have heard him tell a fishing story, any old fishing story, that somehow ended with, “and you know, God’s kinda like that…” My friend just has a way of discovering God while his line’s in the water. It is clear to me that God has used my friend’s gift for fishing to make a spiritual difference in his life, and the lives of those he shares his gift with, including mine.
He may not be a preacher or a singer, a missionary or a church minister, but he knows something he’s good at, and he lets God use it!
So I’ll ask you again, what are you good at?
Minister of Music
First Baptist Church, Murfreesboro, TN