I Have Nothing to Offer to God or His People

“I have nothing to offer to God or His people.” I said this a few years ago, just after coming back to a faith in God.

I had, early in life, a desire to enter into the ministry as a missionary. At that time in my life, God’s truth was real to me; I was alive, and living in faith and I wanted to tell everyone about it.  But, I made a number of poor decisions, committed a number of sins, and had a series of negative events happen in my life.  I had turned my back on the rich blessings of God’s promises without even realizing it.  Yes, I still believed in God, but I no longer trusted Him, I no longer really believed the promises. I was an angry and apathetic man. There is a song lyric which applies to me:

It’s a slow fade when you give yourself away
It’s a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
It’s a slow fade, it’s a slow fade

– Casting Crowns, Slow Fade

I slowly let go of His promises over the course of a decade, I made compromises, I made excuses, I faded slowly, the devil snickered, and God in His infinite wisdom, love and mercy… let me backslide, become complacent, lethargic, sinful, and living for the things of this world; he gave me over to the sinful life I was living. This, my friends, is the discipline of a loving father.  After a decade, or so, of a slow regression and intense suffering God had mercy on me and raised me out of the mire, he set my feet upon a rock.

Over the past few years of slowly learning to trust, growing in faith, I said it again, I thought I had nothing left to offer, and if the truth be known I still feel that way sometimes.  I am a lot older – I was 19 or 20 when I was “on fire” for God – now I am 34, and have gone through hell on earth.  What do I have to offer?

I asked a man, with more experience than I, why I felt this way.  He pointed out the things I was already doing in the church.  Little things, those unnoticed things so to speak, but at least they were something.  When I realized that I was serving in the church, I had to figure out why I felt like I wasn’t.  Was my faith life right?  Was I serving as a means of paying for my sin? No. I have long way to go, but my faith is definitely in a “right place.”  Was my motivation right?  I think it is… So, if I was in fact serving in the church,and living a life of thankfulness,  why did I have this nagging feeling of “I have nothing to offer to God or his people?”

This more experienced man told me to pray…and sadly I admit that I laughed and replied, “ I am already doing that.” He responded with something like this, “Seek your gifts, those God given talents and abilities which He has entrusted to you.  If you develop and use those abilities in the Church for God’s glory and the up building of your congregation, you will be a good steward of the spiritual things God has entrusted to you. And you will feel you have something to offer.”

So I prayed.

I do have gifts, I do have something to use to God’s glory, and for my brother’s benefit.  What are they? Those same gifts that I had when I was in my late teens were still there. They were just hidden in the ground, like the bag of gold the lazy servant had hidden, in the parable in Matthew 25:14-30. So I dug my bag of gold back up with prayer and meditation on the Word. I opened that bag and realized that I love to read and write.  I love to help people come near to the one true God.  I want everyone to know God. I love to teach the truth of God. I love people: the body of Christ, the lost, I love those downtrodden and I have a need to see them fed, both physically and in spirit.

I want you all to have the same love that I have for the lost, I want you all to read with me, Calvin’s Institutes or Louis Berkhof’s Systematic Theology – but I know most of you won’t.  And there is nothing wrong with that. We all have different gifting’s.  If we all only liked to read theology, just imagine the sorry state the church buildings would be in! We read in Romans 12:

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;  if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully

Some of us are meant to be servants; you like to get your hands dirty fixing things so do it for God’s glory and your neighbours benefit.  Some of us are meant to be givers, so give cheerfully! Some of you are meant to teach, or preach, and so on.

We all have something to offer, we all have at least one talent, in which we excel and in which we are fulfilled and in which we can glorify God and help to the upbuilding of the body.  And we ARE a body; let’s serve each other with these gifts.  I will keep reading and writing, teaching, sharing the gospel to the lost, and showing mercy.

What about you? Do think you have nothing to offer? Perhaps you feel that you have fallen too far?  Have you turned your back on God and are just “going through the motions?” Do you think that because of your past you cannot contribute?  Look at Paul; murderer, look at David murderer and adulterer. Read the Bible. No one is beyond hope, no one is stronger than God’s grace…look at me. Now stop looking at me and look at God, seek Him in prayer.

SO…how can you contribute to the up building of the church?  What talents has God entrusted to you? Do you have anything to offer? You better not say no…

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”

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  1. Garrett says:

    Hey Ryan, I recall fairly well when you went through this struggle 14 ish years ago. I recall your now wife gave you a book to encourage you. The book if I recall went through some of the biblical characters such as David, Moses, Saul/Paul, Peter that had so grievously sinned against our God and His Grace. I think that one of the best fights against this feeling that we all go through is to remember that “with man it is impossible, but with God nothing is impossible.” A lot has indeed happened in the past decade and a half. Goals that we had have not come to be, yet God in His Sovereign providence has put us where we are to serve Him. And remember that serving Him, “kingdom work”, does not always mean doing something to the conversion of a stranger, or upholding a brother in our church. Kingdom work starts in our own home, you have been blessed with a wife and children, provide for them, teach them, encourage them, expound to them the Word of God and you are on your way in doing what is your desire to serve. Using our talents for God’s glory is being a godly husband father employee. The most important thing is that in all we do we do as unto Him.

    And by the way, during that time about 14 years ago when you thought you had nothing to give for the Lord, you taught me a lot, and encouraged me a lot in my faith, in my journey as a pilgrim on this earth. So I encourage you, continue to pray, continue to read, continue to teach, continue to be a husband and father that seeks after the Lord, and while you do these things know that even when you do not feel fruitful, the Lord could still be using you, He has before and He is faithful and changes not. Cling to and plead the promises.

    Blessings to you and your family,

  2. One Christian Dad says:

    Hi Garrett,
    It has been a long time since our midnight drives – I miss them and you! I hope you and your family are well. Thank you for your encouragement, I am glad that I could be an encouragement to you in our earlier years as well. That book you mentioned is “Never Beyond Hope” by J.I. Packer and Carolyn Nystrom. A very good read. I recently read it again. Thank you for your kind words of encouragement.