Back in 1991 I took a Spiritual Gifts Test to see what gift of the Holy Spirit I had. The result surprised and thrilled me: Encouragements. Frankly, I would never have guessed it, but when I read the result I felt my spirit soar within me, thanking God and telling myself: “Yes, this is right and good!” Second to that gift, and I believe closely tied, is the gift of Teaching. At that time I immediately began teaching Sunday School in my son’s class of 3 and 4 year olds. And I was his Sunday School teacher for most of his childhood.
I knew all along that God had something else in mind for me other than teaching Sunday School. That’s not to say that it was wrong to teach Sunday School–and God bless Sunday School teachers everywhere, even if I wasn’t called to be one. I believe that it’s because I immediately began exercising my Spiritual Gifts that God grew those gifts and added other gifts. Eventually I began working in my true calling: to encourage missionaries in Europe. When I began encouraging missionaries I had no idea that it was my calling. All I knew at the time is that it was something I loved to do. When God revealed to me that this was my calling my spirit soared even more strongly within me. I was doing something I love doing, enjoying everything about what I was doing, so to have God confirm that it is my calling to do this pleasant and enjoyable work was really wonderful to know. It was God encouraging me as I encourage His people.
Last night I returned from a brief visit with missionaries in Tuscany. I try to check in with them every few months or so, but that’s not as often as I would like to do. Nevertheless, one of them told me: “You have a talent for showing up right at the time when we most need your prayers and encouragement.” I know that it’s not my talent, but the Holy Spirit creating an opening in my calendar for a visit there.
I’ve gone through a very tough time in the past several months, as some of you know. God’s counsel to me has been: “Let these things go and concentrate on today’s tasks. Stay connected to Me.” And when I did that, He blessed me with those encouraging words from my dear missionary friends. That’s my Boss! He’s my Father and Friend, too! He gave me the gift of Encouragement, and then encouraged me just when I really needed it. God is good!