Do you feel maxed out in every direction and wonder if that’s really how God intends it to be? This series, which began May 11, reveals that it is definitely NOT God’s intent. We are the ones who push ourselves to the edge in every facet of life, teetering on the edge of exhaustion – because of a wrong understanding of our role, guilt, peer pressure, poor planning etc.
            Today I’m going to wrap up this series on Healthy Margins with some final words on Ministry. If you’ve missed any posts along the way, I encourage you to take your time to read through them – especially the scripture. My prayer is they will help you examine your life from a biblical perspective and see where you need more breathing space. I am continuing to do the same.
            Here are the last two margins we need in the Ministry aspect of life.

HOME FIRST
MESSAGE/METHOD
SPIRITUAL VITALITY AND MINISTRY
UNIQUE GIFTS
SEASONS

Unique Gifts:
We need to give ourselves and others space to appreciate our unique giftedness. We’re not meant to be copy and paste versions of each other. God designs one of a kind people to benefit the Body of Christ. Some gifts we’re born with and others we receive when we choose to follow Him. Occasionally, God will ask us to do something we’re not gifted in. These assignments stretch us, and build our trust. We know anything good that comes of it is allbecause of Him!
            I love the use of the word “let” in the 1985 version of Romans 12:5-8 in the NIV, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, lethim use it in accordance with his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach;  if it is  encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is to leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.” Too often we try to squeeze others or ourselves into a mold made for someone else. That is not from God.
            The following scriptures reveal how valuable each of us is in God’s kingdom.
Everyone is different – 1 Cor. 7:7
Creative gifts serve a special purpose – Ex. 35:30 & 31:1-6
God is glorified through our uniqueness – 1 Cor. 10:31
The Holy Spirit bestows gifts for the common good – 1 Cor. 12:4-11
We use our gifts to serve others – 1 Pet. 4:9-11
            The last margin we need to allow for in ministry is…

Seasons of Life:
            Some areas of ministry will remain much the same over the years, while others are temporary assignments. These change according to our season of life. For instance, I’ve been a writer and teacher since I was in high school, but the way I’ve used those gifts has changed significantly – from Bible study with my peers, to beginning writer, to Director of Women’s Ministry, to homeschool mom, to author and speaker, Sunday school teacher, and now writing and teaching in a variety of venues. These are what I would call my lifelong gifts.
            There is another gift, however, which I assumed would be a lifelong calling that seems to be winding down. And I have mixed feelings about it. I have played clarinet for forty years, and been involved in music since I was young. However, because of changing worship styles and changes in my life since moving to a new community, I no longer have opportunities to play. I’m wondering if it’s time to let it go. Part of me is sad, but another part is ready to make space for what God has for me next.
            The key is to obey as He leads – both in and out of various opportunities. I trust He’ll provide the wisdom and grace to let go when the time is right. This can be tricky; we tend to get attached to things we’ve poured our passion and energy into over the years. But styles change, our abilities wane, our energy is limited, and the needs of our community shift. If we trust God for each new season, He will minister to us as we minister to others.
There is a time and season for everything – Ecc. 3:1-8, 11
God has a proper time and procedure in mind – Ecc. 8:5-6
Drink deeply of His living water – Psa. 1:1-3
Fully commit yourself to God for a harvest – Gal. 6:8-10
Be prepared for every opportunity – 2 Tim 4:2       

  
Final note:
            Recently I returned from vacationing at my sister’s where we had many conversations about margins. I sat down to watch a sermon that taped while I was away, which turned out to be Andy Stanley’s “Breathing Room” series. Another confirmation that this is God’s timely word for us! If you’d like to learn more on this topic of margins from a delightfully gifted, on-target pastor, here’s the link to his four part series: http://northpoint.org/messages/breathing-room