What makes you feel strong?

1

23/10/2013 by Chris Green

Identifying your strengths is a key part of finding a job or moving on in your career at the moment. Knowing your contribution will lead to your personal satisfaction and worth, and to your being productive and energised.

strong

Perhaps the most engaging exponent of this view is Marcus Buckingham. A Brit living in the States, he is clearly bright and successful himself, and in a combination of  books and online resources he helps you find your strengths.

What’s weird about reading Buckingham is that he’s not a Christian and he’s not writing about church, but his material feels so familiar from all those Spiritual Gifts Inventories that churches do.

Almost.

So it’s worth mulling over the differences, because they are critical. Buckingham is a child of his time and culture and so are we – and if we are not careful we will swallow the world’s baited hook.

Take his definition of a strength. A strength is not defined by being something you’re good at. There are things you’re good at which leave you feeling empty afterwards. I’m currently working in a college environment and so I have learned to be good at marking fairly and efficiently, and giving helpful feedback. But it doesn’t jazz me up, especially. It drains me. So, even though I’m good at it, isn’t a strength.

Equally, something that jazzes me up isn’t a strength necessarily, if I’m no good at it. I like painting, but I’m not really any good at. It’s just fun. A hobby.

So what is a strength? A strength, according to Buckingham, is what makes me feel strong. It energises and lifts me, and helps me to make my best contribution to the team. No one else can help me here, because no one else knows what makes me feel strong.

Stop right there. This is massively different from helping people find their gifts and a place to serve in church.

Gifts are given for the good of the body, not the well being of the individual. It may be that standing up front and giving a talk gives me a buzz. It may be that it drains me. Neither viewpoint helps to discern whether I have the gift of teaching The only criterion is whether other people learn. If the Bible is more clear to others after I have spoken, then I have the gift of teaching, whether I’m pumping the air with an adrenaline high or chucking up in a bucket.

My gifts are not given to bless me. They are given to bless you.

In fact, doesn’t the Lord Jesus prefer to build his church through weakness rather than strengths? I’m not denying the place of gifts – I’m passionate about releasing them – but there’s a critical difference between a strength and a gift. A gift can be exercised in weakness and brokenness. A strength can’t.

And whatever happened to grabbing a towel and washing feet? That’s not a strength. It’s servanthood.

Click HERE for occasional updates from me, and you’ll receive a free e-book, ‘The Power of God’s Words.’ I won’t share your email with anyone else.

One thought on “What makes you feel strong?

  1. dave Williams says:

    Two thoughts. First just thinking of situations where no doubt someone felt energised as they did something wgile everyone else was quite drained.
    Secondly trying to get someone to take a break from something that energises them can be fun. That way lies idolatry.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Publication of The Goldilocks Zone

Launch dayJanuary 18th, 2018
3 months to go.

Living as a Christian in the 21st century means we face constant battles to please God. That’s why I wrote ‘PURITY: Living to please God in an impure world – 15 daily readings in 1 Thessalonians.’

There’s only way to get it – by subscribing to my  email newsletter here.

Index

God, Suffering and Joy

A conversation between me (with cancer) and Michael (with Multiple Sclerosis)

Terms and conditions

This blog does not share personal information with third parties nor do I store any information about your visit to this blog other than to analyse and optimise your content and reading experience. I am not responsible for republished content from this blog on other blogs or websites without my permission. This privacy policy is subject to change without notice.

I welcome your participation on the Ministrynutsandbolts site, and invite you to share ideas elsewhere on what you learn and read here. At the same time, I ask that you respect my intellectual property rights in the process.

You are welcome to link to my site or any specific post on my site, extract and re-post less than 200 words on any other site, provided you link back to my original post, or print my posts in any non-commercial publication (e.g., company newsletter, class syllabus, church newsletter, etc.), provided you include this copyright notice: “© 2017 Chris Green. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.ministrynutsandbolts.com.”

Please do not do the following without written consent: Re-post one of my posts in its entirety anywhere else on the Internet, use this content for commercial purposes, including selling or licensing printed or digital versions of my content, or alter, transform, or build upon this work.

If you have some use for my content that is not covered here, please contact me. If you would like me to do a guest post on your blog, email me at ministrynutsandbolts@gmail.com

Copyright does not apply to the titles of books, but transparency means I should own that the title of the blog is taken from the excellent ‘Ministry Nuts and Bolts: What They Don’t Teach Pastors in Seminary ‘ by Aubrey Malphurs (Kregel: 2nd edn. 2009)

© 2017 Chris Green