Summary: Maybe the thing that causes God the most frustration is all the gifts He’s given us that remain unwrapped.
The Incredibles: Discovering Your Gift
Pastor Mark Batterson
This evotional begins a new series titled God @ the Box Office that explores the spiritual themes in popular movies. To check out this week’s trailer visit our videos @ www.theaterchurch.com.
Two weeks ago we got a Mr. Incredible suit for our God @ the Box Office series and I decided to wear it home from work to surprise my kids. It’s only about a three block walk so I thought I could play it cool, but I was wrong. I hadn’t walked half a block before people were screaming, Mr. Incredible. Cars were stopping. People were staring. Kids were waving. I just had to go “into character” so as I passed people I said things like “At ease” and “The neighborhood is safe folks.” I have to admit: it felt incredible being Mr. Incredible.
I think everybody ought to don a superhero suit and wear it to the office or store or gym every once in a while! But here’s the thing: you don’t have to get a Mr. Incredible suit and feign superpowers to feel incredible. I’m absolutely convinced that if we simply exercised our God-given gifts to their God-given potential we’d feel like Mr. Incredible (or Elastigirl or Dash or Violet).
There is nothing like using your gifts to serve others. It’s the greatest feeling in the world. The key to fulfillment and fruitfulness in life is using your God-given gifts to serve others. It’s that simple.
Superhero Relocation Program
The Incredibles is about a family of superheroes who possess amazing superpowers but they aren’t supposed to use them because they are part of the Superhero Relocation Program. And it’s eating Bob Parr alive. Instead of using his incredible gifts, he’s stuck in a tiny cubicle pushing papers for an annoying boss! He would give anything to be Mr. Incredible again.
Almost every week, when our staff gathers for our team meeting, I pray and thank God for the incredible privilege of being part of his plan for earth. Using our gifts to serve others isn’t something have to do. It’s something we get to do. Here is a common mistake we make: we view privileges as obligations.
Imagine you had two front row tickets the NCAA championship game and you invited someone to go with you. So you give them a ticket you’d give your right arm for, but the entire game you get this vibe like they don’t even want to be there. It’s almost like they’re doing you a favor using your ticket.
I wonder if God ever feels like that. He lavishes incredible gifts on us and we act like we’re doing him a favor by using them. Or worse yet, our response to God’s gifts is “Do I have to?” We debate and dissect the miraculous gifts in I Corinthians 12 instead of actually using them. Or we turn the ministry gifts in Romans 12 into a competition instead of complementing one another.
Let me share a conviction: maybe the thing that causes God the greatest frustration and disappointment and sadness aren’t the things we do wrong. Maybe it’s all the gifts He’s given to us that remain wrapped.
Henry David Thoreau said, “Most men live lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” I think that’s how Bob Parr feels. He wants more than his four foot cubicle. He wants more than his normal life. He wants to do more than go bowling. So he’s moonlighting. He’s listening to police scanners and saving people incognito.
Superheroes are born with superpowers and to do anything other than use them to serve others is frustrating. In the same sense, Christians are endowed with spiritual gifts and to do anything other than use them to serve others is frustrating. When we fail to use our God-given gifts to their God-given potential we lead lives of quiet desperation.
Abraham Maslow put it this way: “A musician must make music, a builder must build, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be.”
I think we focus way too much on not doing anything wrong and way too little on doing something right. I’m not convinced that the greatest tragedy is the things we do wrong. Albert Schweitzer said, “The tragedy of life is what dies inside a man while he lives.” I think too many of us are playing not to lose instead of playing to win. Let me show you the difference.
In I Samuel 14, Israel is held at bay by a battalion of Philistines that control the pass at Mikmash. And what was the leader of Israel doing? Verse 2 speaks volumes. “Saul was staying on the outskirts of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree in Migron.”