Gifts Differing—The Lord’s Purpose for You


Any of us can occasionally fall into the trap of believing that the life we lead, the things that interest us, the occupations we work at or our unique circumstances are somehow accidental to the Lord’s call for our life. They are not.

The Lord never does anything or allows anything to happen by accident; there is purpose to everything in our life, even our name. Take the time to look up the meaning of your name from the Bible and see what it might say about your personality and your purpose in life. More importantly, there is a spiritual purpose for all the unique aspects of our individual personalities and characteristics.

But that purpose is not limited to just our earthly existence or our responsibilities in this life. Our purpose is eternal, and God has gifted us with what we need to fulfill that eternal purpose as He wills it.  If we really want to live with purpose and meaning in our lives, if we want to live for the fulfillment of an eternal purpose, we must seek the Lord’s guidance and learn to apply our gifts in fulfillment of His will.

“I delight to do thy will, O my God; thy law is within my heart.” (Psalm 40:8)

Again, God has uniquely created each one of us for a purpose, and He has provided each of us with the specific gifts we need to fulfill that purpose.

“And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, then healers, helpers, administrators, speakers in various kinds of tongues.” (1 Corinthians 12:28)

Now it is true that not all of us are called to fill one of the roles identified in the list above, but all of us have individual gifts and talents that God intends us to put to good use in the service of His Kingdom.

For those who work outside the home, our careers may represent our contribution to the Kingdom of God, you know, the careers we may mistakenly believe we chose for ourselves. The truth is that even our career choices are a consequence of the individual traits and affinities that make up our personality, all of which were given to us by God. And these aspects of our individual identities do not leave us just because we might retire or stop working at a particular profession.

If for example, people choose teaching as a career, the gifts they learn and develop as teachers are used for more than just assisting young people or even adults in acquiring worldly knowledge and talents. Great teachers are also called to use their gifts to help people learn how to seek a higher purpose in this life, and their role as teacher can reach far beyond the boundaries of a career.

The same is obviously true for those who chose the medical profession or perhaps a legal career. In both of these professions one is required to give advice to help improve either someone’s health or their personal circumstances. Those callings can reach beyond the requirements of clinical or legal advice and allow a person to serve a greater purpose in many people’s lives.

For those who chose the military as a profession, whether still wearing a uniform or not, these individuals acquire and develop gifts and abilities that can always be put at the service of the Lord. These might include leadership and discipline, or sometimes an awakened compassion for the defenseless in our society. God has put some soldiers to the ultimate test by allowing them to suffer and sacrifice for others in this life. This is something soldiers understand and a mission they are better able fulfill than most of us. It is how God made them and it is part of who they are. They may change their tactics from bullets to bent knees, but they simply refuse to leave the battlefield while the spiritual battles around us keep raging.

For those who chose to remain home as mothers or even stay-at-home dads, these individuals know the sacrifices and selfless acts of kindness that are required to serve others, both in their families and the larger community. That very selflessness is a gift, a grace, and it has eternal implications and rewards if it is used in this life to serve a larger purpose.

Whether parent, plumber, carpenter, athlete, builder, consultant, business owner, executive, truck driver or pilot, all of us have both immediate and eternal missions, and we have all been given both the gifts and the graces required to fulfill them.

Of course the same is true for those with gifts outside of their profession or domestic responsibilities. Some have the gift of music, others for public speaking, still others for crafts or gardening. All of these were given to us in different degrees so that we could put them at the service of God’s Kingdom. None of our skills, characteristics, or even desires for certain pastimes are accidental – they all have an eternal purpose.

“Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; he who teaches, in his teaching; he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who contributes, in liberality; he who gives aid, with zeal; he who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.” (Romans 12:6-8)

The point is that we should never labor under the misconception that what we do, or who we are, or the things we enjoy the most are somehow separate and apart from what it is that God may be calling us to do. He implanted the desires, He provided the gifts, He will provide the graces. All we need to do is say to Him.

“Lo, I have come to do thy will.” (Hebrews 10:9)

Please take some time this week to pray that we might all seek, discover, and ultimately fulfill God’s personal and individual Will for each of our lives. Pray that we might all utilize the talents, skills, abilities and desires He has implanted in our hearts to respond to His call.

God Bless


Copyright © 2019 by Mark Danis


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About the Author

Mark Danis

Mark Danis, OCDS, is co-host of the weekly radio program, Carmelite Conversations, which aired internationally for six years on the Radio Maria network. The program focuses on the method and blessings of contemplative prayer practiced in the in our busy day to day lives. Episodes can be streamed at http://www.carmeliteconversations.com.

Mark's primary ministry is providing teaching and spiritual direction in contemplative prayer and removing the obstacles to prayer. He is grounded primarily in the teachings of the Carmelites, most especially St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross.

Mark is a popular speaker and often gives large-group presentations and retreats on Prayer and Carmelite spirituality. He also writes a weekly reflection on prayer for a large nation-wide prayer community, and he leads a weekly prayer group focused on the Teresian Method of Prayer. Mark's most recent appearance was at the 2018 OCDS Congress where he delivered a powerful message to more than 400 Secular Carmelites.

Mark attended St. Michael’s college in Winooski, Vermont, where he received his undergraduate degree in English Literature. He later received a masters degree in theology from Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut.

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