Conventional wisdom tells us that we are supposed to become better at things we are not that good at.  However there’s another school of thought in leadership circles that says to focus on our strengths.  In a recent video series called Trombone Player Wanted, Leadership guru Marcus Buckingham shows how a young boy is yearning to play the drums yet he seems stuck as the trombone player.  It’s something he does well, but not great.  His real passion are the drums.  The video is really well done and the point is very powerful…do what you are passionate about, do what you are really, really good at, follow your strengths.

I get the point.  Don’t just be mediocre at everything, try to be great at one thing.  Unfortunately for many people this is a luxury.  Wouldn’t it be nice if all we had to do at the office or the home was what we were great at?  Forget making the bed and keeping the house clean because I’m just not that good at it!  If you are a student in school you could skip Algebra but attend Art classes all day.  Is “well rounded” a thing of the past with the advent of finding your strengths?

As a pastor who works with people who have various levels of talents and passions, this is a really important concept for me to grapple with.  There are many who want to serve in areas where they may not quite be up to snuff compared to others.  Perhaps they are new to a certain ministry or have never been given an opportunity before.  Then there are others who are just going through the motions…volunteering without passion.  Do I push these folks to only do what they are really strong at?  Do I help them discover their true passion?  What if they are passionate about teaching but they can’t hold anyone’s attention?  How about if they “love love love” singing but they can’t hold a tune?

Maybe the question is not so much what are you passionate about or what your strongest at right now…but what has the Lord called you to?  And even beyond that, where have you been faithful whether or not you love it?  I appreciate the way that the apostle Paul said to Timothy that he should “entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified…”(2 Timothy 2:2).  It’s as if we need to emphasize faithfulness and commitment and serving above everything else.  After that, God equips and raises us up.  Then we are strengthened and even looked upon as individuals who are truly qualified, truly gifted.

What do you think?  Is it more important to focus on your strengths or to grow in areas where you are weak?  I think we all can agree that whatever the Lord truly calls us to…whatever ministry He asks us to serve in, or to whomever He has sent us to reach…that He will strengthen us if we are faithful to Him!


  1. Aaron Lucier says:

    Well said Peter! Made me think of this line from The Lord Of The Rings…I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened!” (Frodo)
    “So do all who live to see such times but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work in this world Frodo besides evil. Bilbo was meant to find the ring, in which case you also were meant to have it, and that is an encouraging thought!” (Gandalf)

  2. Good word. The call and faithfulness are foremost, and a certain amount of well-roundedness is necessary. I’ve appreciated Marcus Buckingham’s work through the prism of spiritual gifts and the body of Christ (teams). As to gifts, God has wired each of us a certain way and we would be wise to go with that rather than trying to be someone or something we’re not. As to the body, God places us in the body to complement (complete) one another. Someone once said the benefit of a team is that it maximizes our strengths and makes our weaknesses irrelevant. I’ve always liked that.

  3. This is a good question! And a hard one to wrestle with! I think we have to find the balance. If God has given each of us gifts/strengths, then for us to waste them would be dishonoring to him. On the other hand, we can’t refuse to do something because it’s our “weakness.” But there is a difference between a weakness and an inability. I may need to improve my weakness of meeting new people, but no matter how hard I try, I can’t improve my inability to sing on tune.

  4. Aaron Lucier says:

    Strengths are blessings, and weakness as well. Forgive me if I lose you for because of my weakness I often become a tiny bit random ( see my last post ). We all know that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. I have known many who have had strengths and failed. While those with weakness only needed a guiding hand, like someone who couldn’t hold a tune but was taught by a patient teacher to do just that, hold a tune. For the individual we must decide with what to do with the time that is given to us. Trust in God to lead us where He wants us to be, doing what He wants us to do. As for you Pastor maybe it’s as simple as this ” Bilbo was meant to find the ring, in which case you also were meant to have it, and that is an encouraging thought!” (Gandalf). Did I lose you?

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