On January 13, 2020, Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow led the LSU Tigers to defeat the Clemson Tigers for the National Championship. As a Clemson fan, it was a disappointing loss but one that provided plenty of respect for the solid LSU team. They figured out how to get it done on both sides of the ball and had a dominant season.
Watching the unexpressive Burrow play through the game and interact after the game, it almost seemed surreal to him. His Heisman narrative was so interesting this year. While he clearly deserved it, without him deciding to make a change, he might have ended his college career on the bench. Without a transfer, he would definitely not be a top NFL draft pick. He transferred from Ohio State when he realized that he wasn’t going to get a shot to play.
In fact, the three quarterback Heisman candidates were all transfers:
- Joe Burrows – Ohio State to LSU
- Jalen Hurts – Alabama to Oklahoma
- Justin Fields – Georgia to Ohio State
The three best college quarterbacks in the entire country all decided to make a move because they were worried they couldn’t use their talent on their team. Their legendary seasons might never have happened if they became content to sit on the bench. I am sure they were nervous. It was risky for each one. And yet, for each of them, it turned to be a good move.
If you even look at where the moved, you realize that a different environment and a different offensive system allowed them to shine even more.
Each of these young men was the right guy but in the wrong spot.
The Right Spot
The longer that I serve in ministry, the more I realize this to be true for all of us. From ministers to missionaries, pastors to parishioners, volunteers to “voluen-tolds,” people often struggle in their serving not due to being unable but due to being misplaced. Many people are the right person in the wrong spot. We do a job but neglect a calling.
- The gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable (Rom. 11:29).
- Every person in the church does not have the same function (Rom. 12:4).
- God created us as His workmanship to do particular good works (Eph. 2:10).
- God gives out particular ministries to particular people (Acts 20:24).
You are gifted. You have a purpose. You might just be in the wrong place.
If you are attempting to force your willingness into a situation that you are not called or gifted, you are doing the ministry and yourself a disservice.
This post is not an encouragement to quit but possibly to adjust. Most people don’t require new gifts but just better alignment.
As I meet with believers, I often ask them what they would do in ministry if they could do anything. Sometimes our volunteers are filling a position instead of fulfilling a calling. Some pastors are surviving in a door they opened rather than thriving in a door God opened.
I long for every believer to serve in a way not because they have to but because they get to – the difference is paramount! At our church, I often ask if people have ever served in a position to which they did not feel called or eager. The answer is a resounding yes! People respond to guilt, obligation, and need far more often than calling, gifting, and opportunity. Each of us will be more successful for the Kingdom if we are working aligned with our gifting rather than serving according to someone’s expectation.
You are the right person to do what God has called you to do, but you might be in the wrong spot.
Maybe it’s the wrong spot. It could be the wrong system. It might not be the fact you can’t get “it” done, it might be that you aren’t supposed to get “it” done. Do you know what God has made you to do? I promise all involved would rejoice if you found it.
God made you a certain way with certain skills to do certain tasks. Are you in the best place where you can fulfill it?
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.
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