Alumnus’ Thoughts on Spiritual Gift
What did I just do?
The question ran over and over again in my mind, eyes searching my hands for an answer they couldn’t give.
“What did I just do?” I repeated aloud, hoping my friend who just hopped up beside me might provide an acceptable excuse.
“Yeah, I don’t know. I feel strange about it too,” she confessed.
We cast a glance back toward the missions booth where we had, just moments before, signed our names on an application form to teach English in the Micronesian Islands. It was as if I had no control of my hand. It just…happened.
And, like any Christian should do after a strange experience, I prayed about it. I asked God for a sign. If this is what He wanted me to do, He’d give me a sign.
That sign came the next day.
I loathe teaching with a passion. Effective teachers exercise wisdom, patience, leadership and discipline at a level I cannot begin to comprehend. Effective teachers also know how to adjust their messages to their audience.
My one-week teaching experience in Sabah taught me that I lack the aforementioned skills. Through this experience, God taught me that effective teaching is a spiritual gift (1 Corinthians 12: 7-11), a spiritual gift not bestowed upon me.
My bruised ego sought comfort in my spiritual gift of journalistic writing. That’s what I’d been called to do. Hence, the least likely thing I thought I’d do after graduation was teach.
“I’m not an English major; I’m not even good at teaching!” frequented my prayers. “And I don’t know how to tell people about the Bible. And me navigating around Asia on my own? God, you and I both know I don’t have the street smarts for that. There are better people out there. Why me?”
God answered. Sign after sign was granted me.
Long story made short, I submitting another application to work as a student ambassador at Hong Kong Adventist Academy. Despite missing numerous deadlines and unaffordable airfare, everything worked out, and on August 10, 2017, my feet touched island ground.
But, these last six months have shown that God qualifies the unqualified (1 Corinthians 1: 18-31).
God’s people have a tendency of rejecting such divine calls. Some of our most renowned Biblical heroes have fallen into this mindset. Moses is a prime example. God heard Moses’ pleas and allowed him to work alongside his brother Aaron. Moses didn’t face his call alone.
Of course, neither did Ellen White.
During her first attempt at walking with God, Ellen would always shirk the responsibility of praying in public. God didn’t give up on her. Ellen offered all the same excuses as Moses. Encouragement from her cousin Hazen Foss and a dream of innocents’ blood on her clothes pushed her to accept the call, a call she answered with her soon-to-be-husband James White.
God doesn’t call people to do things on their own. He gives them a human partner. But, more importantly, He equips us with His Holy Spirit.
The reassurance of God’s Holy Spirit was all I had to cling to on my journey to Hong Kong. And, within 24 hours, God provided two additional student ambassadors who would later become my “family”.
While my family has been beneficial, there are moments when I fall back into the pit of despair. One of them is when I’m selected to speak for morning and evening worship and to lead the prayer service.
In these moments, it’s essential to remember that the body of Christ has many parts (1 Corinthians 12:12). I may not be the best public speaker or the most bubbly girl on campus, but God put me here for a reason, just as He guided each of you to where you are today.
During a leadership retreat, a colleague kindly wrote to me, “Keep working for God. I see your dedication in a quiet but effective way.”
Being a leader—a teacher—doesn’t mean I need charisma and public speaking abilities. Being a teacher can come through being a friend or being a positive influence.Being that resident assistant who will offer to pray with someone before a test. Being that roommate who will watch a movie with a friend after a hard day.
Being a leader for God means making Christlike a cardinal trait, a trait so pervasive it influences every word, every action, every movement, every thought. Total and utter surrender.
God qualifies the unqualified.
You don’t have to be good at what you do.
Just do it—prayerfully and happily—for Jesus.
Stefani Leeper is a student ambassador at Hong Kong Adventist College.