This past week I was reading the story of David and Goliath. It’s gotta’ be one of the coolest stories in the Bible. I get something fresh and new out of it each time I read it.
What grabbed my attention this time were these words in I Samuel 17.
“Then Saul gave David his own armor—a bronze helmet and a coat of mail. David put it on, strapped the sword over it, and took a step or two to see what it was like, for he had never worn such things before.
“I can’t go in these,” he protested to Saul. “I’m not used to them.” So David took them off again. He picked up five smooth stones from a stream and put them into his shepherd’s bag. Then, armed only with his shepherd’s staff and sling, he started across the valley to fight the Philistine.”
They tried to get David to be someone he wasn’t. He wasn’t a soldier…he was a shepherd. They gave him armor. He tried it on, but it didn’t work for him. They handed him a sword. But his hand wasn’t made for a sword…it was made for a slingshot. God didn’t want another soldier…He wanted a shepherd boy to win the battle.
David didn’t try to be his brothers. His brothers were soldiers. He could have worn the armor so he could look like his brothers…maybe even impress them…but he didn’t.
Perhaps you have a sibling who got all the attention growing up. Perhaps they have the talent you wish you had. Perhaps they got the job you thought you’d have. Perhaps you feel like you’ve always lived in their shadow.
But…God didn’t create you to be your siblings…He created you to be you.
David didn’t try to be the king. Wow…he had the opportunity to go to battle wearing the king’s armor. But at that time, God didn’t want him wearing the armor of a king.
When I first started in ministry, I had some famous Pastors that I looked up to. I tried to be like them. I would even try to make my speaking voice sound like theirs. But God didn’t want another one of them. He wanted me to be who He created me to be. He had a ministry that He had custom designed for me. Same with you.
God only made one you and then threw away the pattern. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. While you were still in your mother’s womb, He formed you. God doesn’t want you to be someone else. He wants you to be you. No one can be you…but you.
God created you to do a work that only you can do. He didn’t look down and say “Oh…there’s Susan…I better find something for her to do.” No… He had a work that He wanted done and He created you to do it.
Don’t compare yourself to others. It will either make you humiliated or haughty and you don’t need either. Paul said, “I have finished MY course.” We’ve all been guilty at times of looking over at someone else’s course and wishing it were ours or the flip side which is being filled with pride and thinking our course is better than someone elses. Comparison thoughts and statements like the ones below reveal a heart that is looking at someone else’s course instead of focusing on it’s own.
- I wish I had their ministry position.
- I wish I could sing as well as him.
- I wish I could speak at that conference like her.
- I wish I could teach kids as well as her.
- I wish I had her personality.
- Wow…I’m glad I’m not at that church. Mine is so much better.
- Our church is the biggest in town. Everyone needs to copy what we’re doing or they’re not going to grow.
- I’m not going to listen to her advice…she hasn’t been in ministry as long as me.
- Our worship team is a lot better than theirs.
God hasn’t called you to run someone else’s course…only your own. If you try to run someone else’s course, you will miss out on the unique course God created for you.
God wants to pour out His blessings on you…not on your version of someone else. He used David just as he was to win the victory. If David had tried to be Saul or another soldier, he might have shortchanged himself of God’s best blessings. God is waiting to pour out His blessings on your life as well when you follow His design for your life.
God has a unique plan for your ministry. When I first started going to Children’s Ministry conferences, I would get really excited as I saw what fast growing churches were doing. I would come back all fired up. Ready to do ministry just like them. Ready to change my programming to look just like theirs. Sometimes I made drastic changes quickly without taking enough time to see if it was what God wanted for our ministry. My thought process was to duplicate exactly what they were doing and I would get the same results they were getting.
Over time (and with a lot of mistakes), I realized that God hasn’t called our Children’s Ministry to be just like the Children’s Ministries that I wanted to carbon copy. I realized different parts of the country have different cultures. Some things that work for a church in California might not work for a church in South Florida. Each church has it’s own unique culture…and that’s a good thing.
Should we learn from other ministries? You bet. Should we use ideas from other ministries? Definitely. Should we try to be another ministry? No. We should be the unique ministry that God has called us to be. God may want to use your ministry to reach people that another ministry down the street can’t reach. As each ministry finds it’s unique signature from God, it will fulfill it’s role in the big picture of redemption that God is painting.
Our world doesn’t need another Billy Graham….or another Beth Moore…or another Andy Stanley…or another Chris Tomlin….
It needs you…being who God created you to be…and doing what God created you to do.
Be you and watch God use you change the world.