Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecy spoken over you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you. Give your complete attention to these matters. (1 Timothy 4:14,15b)
If you've ever felt inadequate to accomplish a leadership role or task, you're not alone! All of us at times can feel weak and even overwhelmed at the challenges we face.
Such feelings are not necessarily bad. They can cause us to press closer into God and rely more fully on Him to enable us to do what is required. They also create a healthy sense of dependence and keep us humble when thengs go well ("It must have been God because it certainly wasn"t me!")
But these feelings can also lead to despair which in turn can cause us to give up.
After exhorting Timothy not to allow people to look down on him, Paul mentions two things that Timothy needs to keep in mind if he is to be confident and effective in his leadership.
The first of these is a reminder to Timothy that he is is spiritually gifted to accomplish the calling set before him and that he should not neglect these gifts.Spiritual gifts are given to the individual for the benefit of the church. We don't earn them: they are gifts, and gifts to be used and shared.
As Timothy struggles with the challenge of the tasks he's required to complete, Paul reminds him to use the gifts he's received.
If we're to do the same, we must first come to know and understand what our gifts are. There are inventories we can complete that give a guide as to what our gifts might be.
Two questions that can be helpful in determining your gifts are: what do I enjoy doing, and what am I (surprisingly) effective in doing? Other people are sometimes able to identify our gifts and help us answer these questions.
When you feel overwhelmed or inadequate remind yourself that God has equipped you with all the resources you need to do the tasks and to do it well. Sure, you'll make mistakes - we all do! But generally speaking, you can do what needs doing because God has made it possible by gifting you.
Many times I've felt inadequate when faced with a challenge or task. My prayer in faith at these times is a choice to believe God will do what He wants to do through me and that He will deservedly have all the credit.
The second antidote to inadequacy is the reminder that not only are we gifted for a task but we are called by God to do it through being set apart by the leaders of the church. (This is what the phrase "laying on of hands" means).
I recall one of my very effective volunteer leaders once saying to me, "When you asked me to be a leader I didn't believe I could do it. The only reason I said yes is that you believed I could do it!".
When you're finding leadership challenging, remind yourself that you're not leading simply because you chose to lead. You're leading because someone in a position of leadership in the church recognised the calling and gifting God had placed upon you.
This can be hugely encouraging when you feel overwhelmed. The devil loves to put doubt in our minds. The wisdom and insight of godly people whem we respect is a great antidote to inadequacy.
What spiritual gifts has God given you? How do you know? in what ways have you seen these gifts at work?
Who has recognised your leadership calling and given you the opportunity to lead. If you are struggling with an unhealthy sense of inadequacy, ask them what qualities they see on you that led them to invite you to lead.