On Sailing… and Serving Others With Your Gifts & Passions

On Saturday, I surprised Jeremiah with a boat ride for his birthday. We boarded a beautiful wooden catamaran that seated about 30 people. Scott was our captain. He was super friendly and we knew we were in for a treat on the lake. It was just what we needed after a stressful week.
About 30 minutes into our sail, Scott came by to accept our payment. Jeremiah initiated a conversation with Scott on how he got involved in sailing.

“I got on the computer and Googled ‘how to build a boat,’ ” he said.

“I found all the necessary resources and started building. I never dreamed I’d be taking 35 trips a week and that my business would grow like this…”

Then he said something profound that stuck with both of us:

“I think it’s important to find what you love to do and serve others through it.”

You could tell that Scott had what he wanted in life. He’d been married to his wife of 30+ years, his children were grown and doing well, and he was doing what he absolutely loved. But not only that, he was blessing the lives of a lot of people- every week.

Scott takes a shot of us behind the wheel

During the remainder of the trip, I thought about how God distributes gifts to people and how the purpose of those gifts are to edify and equip the Church. So often it’s easy to get caught up in the what-my-gift-will-do-for-me kind of mentality.

But it’s not about that at all. Certainly, our gifts and passions draw us closer to God, make us come alive, and give us meaning and purpose. But our gifts aren’t supposed to be hoarded and hidden inside our own little box.

We’re supposed to give our gifts away. And if we think anything different, we’re missing the boat.

I don’t know if you’ve found your gift or the one thing you want to spend your life doing. I don’t know if you’re discouraged in that pursuit or if you believe you have something to contribute to this world.

But what I do know is God created you for a purpose and that involves building into the lives of others.

You have something to offer that no one else does and other people need you to draw out your gifts, however that might look and whatever risks that might involve.

When you view your gifts with an outwardly-focused kind of mentality, your life will change drastically. Your perspective will shift off of yourself and onto how God can use you to make a difference in the lives of others.

In middle school, I started journaling. It was how I felt closest to the Lord and it was the easiest way for me to write out my prayers and remember them. It also came natural, just like the assignments did in my Creative Writing classes. After receiving my first publishing contract in college (7 or so journals later), I realized that God was starting to call me out of my comfort zone of personal journaling and into riskier territory of writing for an actual audience.

As the years passed and I started writing for other publications and eventually writing Bible study curriculum for churches across the country, I realized even more that writing was my number 1 passion. But the best thing about it was that I could use my writing to serve and encourage other people and help build God’s kingdom. My focus, including my goals, started to shift. Still today, I’m learning what it means to be outwardly-focused and I’ve found so much joy in the journey.

“Find what you love and serve others.”

I’ll always remember the wisdom Captain Scott imparted to us that evening and I hope it will encourage you too.

*From the Archives*- You Might Also Enjoy Reading…

Daring to Risk a Little More

The Joy of Being on Mission

Five Minutes to Let It Shine

Give Yourself Away

 

 

 

Who’s image is it?

1156610_36788246A few weeks ago, I found a guy named Andy Blanks through a wordpress search. As the content editor for Small Group Trader, I frequently search for blogs that have quality content that can be used on our site as articles. And I asked him if we could use his post, Image vs. Mission which is now live on our site.

Andy wrote some things that I deal with but might be ashamed to admit.

At times, I care more about what people think then I do about spreading the gospel and being about God’s kingdom.

At times, I care if I look “this or that” way to someone.

And I’ve missed opportunities to share what Jesus is doing in my life with an unbeliever because my “image” has been of first importance.

Being all about image is an ugly thing because it puts all the glory on self, and not on our Savior. It can even consume us if we let it and before we know it, we’ve completely neglected God.

But the reality is that any good looks we have, stellar talents, skills, relational ability, intelligence… all come from God- for his purposes.

I told Jeremiah just before bed the other day about a conversation Anne Jackson and I had about writing. I’m afraid of pride if I were to ever be really successful, specifically in publishing my own book. It’s a huge fear of mine.

He said something I’ll always remember: “Samantha, your gifts are not yours. They are God’s.”

A light bulb went off in my head. I took that as: my gifts don’t just come from God, but they are God’s.

What a difference. So in that knowledge, how will the ways I use my gifts be different? I think it has to do with image. Will I choose to reflect his glory by making him my prized treasure instead of glorifying self, being worried about what others think, or even being concerned about my own pride?

It’s not about Samantha. It’s about God. It’s that simple.

LA Shoot with Erwin McManus

A few weeks back, our team returned from Los Angeles to film their fourth major video project with Erwin McManus, based off his ever-popular book Uprising: A Revolution of the Soul.

The weekend of the shoot was perfect. LA’s weather was flawless and our team had a blast shooting the beautiful scenery and vast terrain surrounding them. The prime location for the video series was Griffith Park in the Hollywood hills.

Our crew set up their cameras overlooking the expansive Hollywood reservoir. Erwin reviewed his notes and in no time, the cameras were rolling. In a simple yet profound way, Erwin challenges young adults to give their life away by tapping into the talents and gifts God has given them. He states, “We are magnetized to a world filled with opportunities and often paralyzed by the inherent responsibilities.” His charismatic teaching style inspires this generation to change their ordinary life into one with extraordinary passion.

After a long day of work, all the footage was complete. It was hard for our team to pull away from sunny LA and Erwin McManus; however they were anxious to return to their offices and edit the footage. They packed their bags and headed back to Dallas.

The Bible study series filmed in LA with Erwin McManus will be called Uprising: a 6-session video-driven Bible study and will release Sept. 1, 2008. It will include a leader’s guide, workbook, 6 video sesssions, and the book itself. Check out our current DVD resources with Erwin McManus: Impact, Choices, Dreams, and Advance.

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