I don’t remember exactly what we were talking about, but in our conversation my husband Bill pointed out that Jesus didn’t heal everybody when he was on earth. He didn’t heal all the leprosy, give sight to all who were blind, or feed everyone who was hungry. He didn’t fix all the problems, only some of them. That, of course, got me to thinking, why didn’t he? He had the power to fix everything, didn’t he? So I figure that Jesus’ purpose in coming was not to make the world a flawless place. If that’s what God wanted, God did not need to come down as Jesus to do it. And God still hasn’t fixed everything. I’ll save the discussion on why God wants us to exist in such an imperfect world for another time. This one is about finding our niches
Jesus had a role to play on earth, designed just for him. We know his purpose was to help us understand God’s amazing grace and forgiveness, which is true love. He came to teach us to love God and others in that way, and to let us know that God understands the frailty of humanity. He came to help us set Godly priorities and to encourage us. He had a role to play—his niche—and he carried it out perfectly.
The conversation with Bill came back to me as I was thinking about some things I would like to do, things I feel are right to do and would be good if I did them. Shouldn’t I be helping with the after school program? The homeless mission could surely use more help. There are always people who I would love to visit more often in hospitals and nursing homes. I’d love to sing in the choir. How many things can I do if I want to do anything well? This has been a constant struggle for me since I became active in church many years ago. Sometimes I would stretch myself thin, get tired and frustrated, stop doing some things, then feel guilty. If I could just figure out how to be in two (maybe three) places at once!
I’m sure more than a few of you know what I’m talking about. Remember this: Jesus had a niche, a role just for him. Remember that Moses had to understand his niche in order to lead the people through the desert (Exodus 18:13-26). The apostles had to learn the same lesson (Acts 6:1-7). And Mary let us know that sometimes our niches are not what society dictates (Luke 10:38-42). Each of us has a niche, a role that we can fill that suits us best. We’re not equipped or required to do everything that needs doing as we strive to serve God. Our niches are defined, generally, by our gifts—what we are good at doing and what brings us joy in our service to God.
I love to write, preach, teach, and sometimes to organize and lead. I have a strong inclination to focus on societal justice. These things define my niche. I also do other things, often driven by my love for people, but I’ve learned that what I enjoy doing and what I do well must be my primary focus if I am to be effective in my work for Christ. We all need to stop feeling guilty because we can’t do everything we’d like to do for God.
What’s your niche? The Lenten Season, the six week period before Easter, is a good time to reflect on how you can better serve Christ with your set of gifts. Keep trying different things until you find what you feel is right for you—there may be more than one or two things that define your niche. Pray to God for guidance as you seek to be more effective in your kingdom building work.
God is the one who gave us our roles to carry out God’s plan. When we come together as people of faith, sharing our gifts while focused on the same objective—bringing the good news of Christ to the world through our words and our actions—we’ll be empowered to do “greater things,” as Jesus promised: “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” ( John 14:12)
Move mountains? Yes, we can! And there are a lot to move.