The Ministry of Competence


In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.
Romans 12:6a NLT

Like any good father, we worship a God who adores giving gifts to His children. The Apostle James tells us that, “Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens” (James 1:17a). God is not a stingy, uninterested Father. On the contrary, God longs to lavishly bestow good gifts upon His children. And according to the Apostle Paul, God has done and is doing this through His wonderful grace. All for the purpose of enabling us to do “certain things well.”

See, God grants His children different gifts that we might use them in the context of our calling. That we might live into that which God has created us to be. As we’ve seen, God uses our passions as pointers on the road to discerning our calling. But passion without competence is worthless. If we are to glorify God and love and serve others through our work, we must do work that we are both passionate about and gifted at. For this reason, God gives us not just unique passions, but specific giftings as well. These gifts help us filter through our passions, uncovering the ones that match the unique abilities God has given us to serve Him and the world.
Our calling is the place where our passions and gifts collide. It becomes the tangible expression of that which God has created us to be and do. When our passions and giftings intersect, our vocation becomes the space where we can do “certain things well.” In other words, we do work that we can excel at. This is what Pastor Timothy Keller calls, “the ministry of competence.” We commit to building, starting, or creating that which we are competent at, placing us in the best position to love God and others to our fullest measure. In this, we most accurately bear God’s image to the world around us. This is the true purpose for the gifts and passions God gives to His children.
Discovering what we are passionate about is a critical step in understanding who God has made us to be. But just as important is doing the hard work of discerning the work He has gifted us to do exceptionally well. We must be diligent in continually uncovering both our passions and our giftings. Then, once discovered, we must prayerfully seek out ways for those two to come together for the glory of God and the good of others. Then, we must act, finding creative ways to unleash our calling upon the world.
Jordan Raynor
Author, Called to Create

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