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!