Encouragement for Today - November 14, 2005



Encouragement for Today


“Everybody Gets to Play”

Glynnis Whitwer, Senior Editor of P31 Woman Magazine, Author, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member


Key Verse:

1 Corinthians 12:27, “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” (NIV)



I grew up a freckle-faced brunette in a neighborhood of blonds – 13 of them.  Not just any blond, but the light, almost white kind of blond.  To say I stood out in the crowd was an understatement.  Normally it didn’t matter to any of us, except when we played “Big Valley.” 


In the late ‘60s, the Big Valley was a popular television show.  For those of you over 40, you’re humming the theme song right now … “The big valley, the big valley …” (Ok, I know there weren’t words.) As little kids, we would reenact the various episodes and inevitably, there was an argument over who would get to play Audra Barkley.


Audra was the beautiful, longhaired daughter, who was fussed over by her mama and pampered by her three handsome brothers.  As much as I would have liked to play Audra, that was never an option.  You see, Audra had long, blond hair.  With my brown hair, I wasn’t even considered for Audra.  I did, however, get a part.  I was Nick.  Not Heath, the handsome younger brother – Johnny (with blond hair) got to play him.  But Nick – the hot-headed, troublemaker.


When I didn’t play Nick, I (gulp) played a horse.  These are embarrassing facts of my childhood that I’m only now able to talk about.  I would have made a great Audra.


Although I write that tongue-in-cheek, the truth is, it hurts to be left out, or relegated to a role that doesn’t fit you; whatever age you are.  What I love about God’s Kingdom here on earth is that everybody gets to play!  And we get to play a part specifically designed for us.


Each of us is called to serve God in a wonderfully unique way.  God gives us skills and talents at birth, and then calls us into service.  Once we say “yes,” God fine-tunes our skills and increases them according to our faithfulness in using them.   Yet many Christians never fully discover their gifts. 


When that happens, there’s nothing more frustrating than an under-used Christian.  I wonder what would happen if every believer were serving God according to his or her gifts and talents – and not based on where there’s a vacancy in Sunday school or on a committee.


My challenge is to discover my God-given gifts and talents and surrender them to God and His purposes.  If my gift is teaching, then I need to be somewhere I can teach.   If I have financials skill, then I should be working with money.  If I love to pray for the sick, then I should be praying for the sick.  It would be nice if someone identified my skills and asked me to serve accordingly, but the responsibility for using my gifts ultimately falls to me.


Although my days of the Big Valley and playing Nick are past, I’ll never forget feeling out of place, and longing to play another role.  God’s Kingdom is big enough for each of us to fulfill the calling God has for us.  We need to say “no” when someone asks us to play “Nick” and we need to pursue opportunities to play our own brand of “Audra.”


My Prayer for Today:

Heavenly Father, thank You for allowing me to play a part in Your Kingdom.  Thank You for needing me and for blessing me with gifts and talents.  I pray for wisdom to know when and where to say “yes” and “no.”  I long to honor You in all my ways.   In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Application Steps:

What are some of your God-given talents?  (What skills come naturally to you?)


How do you feel when you are in a position that you don’t enjoy and are unqualified for?


What are some ways we can discover our specific gifts and talents?


What are some reasons that Christians serve outside of their specific gifting and talents? 


What holds you back from using your talents more fully?


Power Verses:

Ephesians 4: 11,  “It was he (Jesus) who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.”


1 Corinthians 12:12, “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body.  So it is with Christ.”  (NIV)


Roman 12:4b-6a,  “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.” (NIV)


Matthew 25:21, “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!’” (NIV)


Additional Resources:

Living Life on Purpose, by Lysa TerKeurst



The Ultimate Makeover, by Sharon Jaynes



P31 Woman Magazine




Originally published Monday, 14 November 2005.