(Here are questions from our sermon on July 20, 2014. –geno)
Q1: What if a person felt compelled to learn a skill to a high level from parental pressure or financial/cultural pressure?
A1: I don’t think these pressures are altogether outside of the will of God. In other words, God may be using our parents or the financial pressure we face to motivate us to do rather unpleasant things like practice the piano or study British Literature or learn college-level calculus. Many of us emerge from these seasons despising the pressure, but grateful for the outcome in our lives. In our country it is usually the case that we can move forward and develop skills in an area from which we derive pleasure. I’m thinking of the case of one fine artist friend who has become a skilled programmer in order to feed his family. I believe that this is exactly the will of God for him.
Q2: So what about having a high level of skill but no enjoyment in it? Do these gifts just go unused?
A2: Enjoyment (or not) can be a function of many things, not all related to developing skills in an arena in which we find satisfaction. Also, we can develop an innate talent to a high level of skill. This is not the same thing as a spiritual gift. We are called to steward our lives. Ask God to show you what is most important to Him and follow that. Perhaps He will show you that his love for you goes well beyond the skill in which you walk. And perhaps He will guide you to pick up (or lay down) a particular task/skill/gift.
Q3: Please repeat the author’s name(s) of Why Work.
A3: Why Work?: Careers and Employment in Biblical Perspective by John A. Bernbaum and Simon Steer, from the Christian College Coalition Study Guides series. Amazon.com has a few for sale both new and used.
Q4: You say we should do more of what brings us happiness. What if I get no happiness from reading the Bible or praying?
A4: I would encourage you to find a way to read the Bible or listen to the Bible while doing something you enjoy like hiking, woodwork, bicycling, or working in the garden. It is fairly simple to obtain the Bible in an MP3 format and copy it onto your phone, or iPod or similar device. The main thing is to get the Bible inside you, not the particular process. If you simply find the Bible boring, then I suggest that you get some teaching on how to read the Bible or study the Bible. Or maybe you should consider whether you actually belong to God or have undergone some process of separation, because those who truly love God want all the help they can get in knowing Him better.