Paul wrote two letters to his “spiritual son,” Timothy. In both, he addressed the fact that Timothy’s “gift” was being neglected and was inoperative. Paul’s first letter states, “Do not neglect the gift that is in you” (1 Timothy 4:14 NKJV). The word “neglect” in the Greek is ameléō. A couple of defining words are “to overlook or regard lightly.” Another source defines this word as “to not think about, and thus not respond appropriately to—‘to pay no attention to.’” Why would Timothy—or any of us—overlook and not pay attention to a God-given gift, and in an extreme case, not even think about it? One of the biggest reasons is we feel like it isn’t working or producing according to our expectations. The thought becomes, I tried and it didn’t work. I was often tempted to think this way in my twenties and early thirties. One occasion came after Lisa and her friend fell asleep while I was preaching. After this incident, I had this thought: Why would anyone want to listen to me when those closest to me can’t even stay awake? Around the same time, another reality that increased my struggle with thoughts of failure, was when a friend and I were each teaching a Sunday school class. He had over 200 attend his class—standing room only. During this same time frame, my class average attendance was approximately 20 people. There was actually one class I taught during this time period that only one person attended! There were other occasions, too numerous to list, when I was tempted to question my gifts. I realize now that if I had yielded to these thoughts of unmet expectations and apparent failure, I would have given up on ministry and pursued another path—ultimately becoming miserable because of leaving my life’s calling. Why am I saying all this? Well, you might be in a place right now in your life where you are feeling discouragement in a big way. You may be thinking, Why keep trying? It’s not working. I should just give up. Don’t. I want to encourage you the same way Paul did to Timothy: “Do not neglect the gift that is in you.” God’s grace is more than enough for you and He will see that what He has placed on your life comes to pass. I talk more about giftings and how to multiply what God has entrusted us with in my new book, X: Multiply Your God-Given Potential. If what I’ve wrote you today has struck a chord, I’d encourage you to check it out. Always remember, God has given you unique gifts, and the enemy knows it. Keep pressing into God and keep moving forward! Fighting for you to fulfill your God-given potential!
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