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On Sailing… and Serving Others With Your Gifts & Passions

October 26, 2011
On Saturday, I surprised Jeremiah with a boat ride for his birthday. We boarded a beautiful wooden catamaran that seated about 30 people. Scott was our captain. He was super friendly and we knew we were in for a treat on the lake. It was just what we needed after a stressful week.
About 30 minutes into our sail, Scott came by to accept our payment. Jeremiah initiated a conversation with Scott on how he got involved in sailing.

“I got on the computer and Googled ‘how to build a boat,’ ” he said.

“I found all the necessary resources and started building. I never dreamed I’d be taking 35 trips a week and that my business would grow like this…”

Then he said something profound that stuck with both of us:

“I think it’s important to find what you love to do and serve others through it.”

You could tell that Scott had what he wanted in life. He’d been married to his wife of 30+ years, his children were grown and doing well, and he was doing what he absolutely loved. But not only that, he was blessing the lives of a lot of people- every week.

Scott takes a shot of us behind the wheel

During the remainder of the trip, I thought about how God distributes gifts to people and how the purpose of those gifts are to edify and equip the Church. So often it’s easy to get caught up in the what-my-gift-will-do-for-me kind of mentality.

But it’s not about that at all. Certainly, our gifts and passions draw us closer to God, make us come alive, and give us meaning and purpose. But our gifts aren’t supposed to be hoarded and hidden inside our own little box.

We’re supposed to give our gifts away. And if we think anything different, we’re missing the boat.

I don’t know if you’ve found your gift or the one thing you want to spend your life doing. I don’t know if you’re discouraged in that pursuit or if you believe you have something to contribute to this world.

But what I do know is God created you for a purpose and that involves building into the lives of others.

You have something to offer that no one else does and other people need you to draw out your gifts, however that might look and whatever risks that might involve.

When you view your gifts with an outwardly-focused kind of mentality, your life will change drastically. Your perspective will shift off of yourself and onto how God can use you to make a difference in the lives of others.

In middle school, I started journaling. It was how I felt closest to the Lord and it was the easiest way for me to write out my prayers and remember them. It also came natural, just like the assignments did in my Creative Writing classes. After receiving my first publishing contract in college (7 or so journals later), I realized that God was starting to call me out of my comfort zone of personal journaling and into riskier territory of writing for an actual audience.

As the years passed and I started writing for other publications and eventually writing Bible study curriculum for churches across the country, I realized even more that writing was my number 1 passion. But the best thing about it was that I could use my writing to serve and encourage other people and help build God’s kingdom. My focus, including my goals, started to shift. Still today, I’m learning what it means to be outwardly-focused and I’ve found so much joy in the journey.

“Find what you love and serve others.”

I’ll always remember the wisdom Captain Scott imparted to us that evening and I hope it will encourage you too.

*From the Archives*- You Might Also Enjoy Reading…

Daring to Risk a Little More

The Joy of Being on Mission

Five Minutes to Let It Shine

Give Yourself Away




7 Comments leave one →
  1. October 26, 2011 10:30 am

    My husband would be jealous. He LOVES sailing and wants to build a boat someday.

  2. October 26, 2011 3:56 pm

    he totally should! I think it’s a great thing for any man to do! My husband loves working with wood too.

  3. October 26, 2011 6:40 pm

    Samantha – This is such a great article! Thank you for sharing it. I am actually working on this area in my life – taking my different skills and asking God for guidance about my purpose. I found your article inspirational and comforting. Thanks again! ~Tiffany

    • October 26, 2011 8:10 pm

      Tiffany, thanks so much. I’m really glad to hear that you were encouraged by it. I’ll be praying and thinking about you as you seek His will and direction. Very exciting!

  4. Victoria permalink
    October 27, 2011 10:14 am

    Wow, this is quite ironic with what I am going through right now. I am going to college in January for the first time, but yet I am finding myself questioning my purpose in this life. When I was younger, I was very passionate about music, it was one thing I always looked forward to and that came very natural to me from singing to playing my flute and guitar. Unfortunately, my parents could not keep up with the concert dates and afterschool practices, so they told me I had to quit and I was devasted and quite sad. Six years later after graduating high school, I still yearn to pursue that passion. I also told my parents about how I felt about their decision to have me quit and about how sad and a bit bitter I was towards them for making me do that and they were speechless, but they were also deeply sorry for it. So I came to forgive them and now all I have to do is pick up the pieces again, but I know its going to be hard to get back into it. Thank you so so much for this post it really made me think today. You are right, God does give an individual a gift to share with the world and it is not meant to be hidden which I have allowed for the past six years. Best part of it all is that I will get to do something I really love to do. Please keep me in your prayers that God may help me in my journey to ignite that passion yet once more for his glory and purpose. Thanks again!

    • Victoria permalink
      October 27, 2011 10:15 am

      Great pictures by the way, very breath taking.

    • October 28, 2011 1:01 pm

      I will definitely. How exciting to pick up the pieces again and go for what you love. Music has a way of reaching people in some incredible ways that no book or blog post could ever do. Excited to see where God takes you with your gifts.

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