Our staff just returned from a retreat up in Summit County and one of the goals for our time away together was simply to get to know one another more and the unique ways God has made us. To aid us in this task we did the Gallup Strengths Finder assessment. Basically this tool reveals a person’s top “strengths.” It was fun and fascinating to learn more about the strengths of each staff member. One of the things that struck me during this activity is that every strength has a blind spot – and that as followers of Christ we do not boast in our strength but rather in our weaknesses because in these Christ shows His strength in us.
I’m not discrediting the value of the Strengths Finder exercise; it’s still very valuable to understand how God has naturally gifted us. However one of my “strengths” is Achiever. Basically I like to get stuff done… every day… like, every single day… even on vacation. It gives me a positive energy charge to achieve things.
This serves me well in my life as a pastor; however, like with all strengths, the blind spot is that I can over-function in ways that prioritize tasks over people. I need to acknowledge this dimension of my “Achiever” strength and invite Christ to be sufficient in my weakness.
How can Christ be sufficient in us if we’re unwilling to acknowledge weakness and only boast in strength? Psalm 127 says, “Unless the LORD builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted.” The second part of this psalm says, “Children are a gift from the LORD.”
What a fascinating contrast! The Psalmist is talking about our work and what is truly of value. So often our culture seeks to turn us into machines who are driving, driving, driving only to realize we’ve wound up nowhere. We climb, climb, climb only to find out our ladder is up against the wrong wall.
But children are the contrasting picture the Psalmist gives. Children are a picture of relational gifts born out of love, not efficiency. Many relational gifts are born out of love. Throughout Scripture, God reminds us that love is our life breath. Giving and receiving love, in communion with God and others, is our deepest hunger and purpose. Everything else is secondary.
Even if my strength is achievement, and yours is financial planning or database improvement or whatever God has given you that you do well- as followers of Christ, we need to follow his example and prioritize our relationships with people above our tasks.