When our CBC church staff recently attended the Gallup StrengthFinder sessions we each discovered what our top five strengths are. We also learned valuable lessons for life.
For example, people are six times more likely to be engaged in their work or ministry if they are working from their strengths. If “communication” is my strength I will have a heart to put my thoughts into words, make conversation and do presentations. Obviously this principle confirms that our service to God should be based on our spiritual gifts. If we want to get the most out of others let them work from their strengths and let’s assume God has put us together as a good plan. (People with “connectedness” will find that last part easy. They have exceptional faith in the links among all things and that there are few coincidences.)
While no one is good at everything every person is exceptionally good at some things. We are likely, however, to minimize the value of our strengths because we do them so easily and well. We may assume that anyone can do what we do. That would be wrong. Not everyone, for example, has the strength of “includer”, a person who is exceptionally talented at accepting others and showing an awareness of those who feel left out, which leads them to make an effort to include others. And not everyone is “futuristic”, having a keen interest in the future and the ability to energize others with their vision and plans for the future.
All the strengths have a dark side. What others perceive in us as a weakness can be a strength taken to an extreme. For example, a person with “self-assurance” has the strength to feel confident in their ability to manage their own lives. They possess an inner compass that gives them confidence that their decisions are right. This is a strength but you can see how this begins to look like pushiness or arrogance when it is not balanced by an ability to take advice, work within the rules or as part of a team. And everyone wants to be around a person with the strength of “positivity” because they have contagious enthusiasm, the natural ability to be upbeat and to get others excited about what they are going to do. But since a person with “positivity” feeds off and projects the energy of those around them they can feel extremely overwhelmed and morose when their environment is negative.
Love and faith are the necessary ingredients to make the disparate parts function as one body. Apart from those we will demand that others have our strengths when they can’t and fail to believe and appreciate that God has given others the strengths we lack.