Some things are not found by seeking, but by surrender. Anyone who has taken a water safety course knows never to swim out to a drowning man and try to help him while he is panicked and fighting to stay above the water. You might as well commit suicide. As long as the man thinks he can help himself, he is dangerous to anyone who tries to help him. He will naturally cling to the person trying to help him and cause both of them to drown. The best way to rescue a drowning person is to stay a safe distance away so he can’t grab you. Then you wait until he gives up before you come near him. Now he can be rescued because he will let you help instead of working against you.

It is not until a drowning man surrenders that he can be rescued. In a similar way, it is not until a believer surrenders His will to God that God can show him his spiritual gifts. Some Christians thrash about with their own plans of serving Christ. They think, “I’m going to preach,” or “I will be a choir director,” or “I should be the church treasurer,” or “I need to be put in a management position in church.” Then they flail their arms about, vainly trying to accomplish what God never meant for them to do in the first place.

Finally, the tired and miserable Christian gives up and says, “Alright, Lord, I’m tired of trying. Use me wherever and however you see fit.” He is pliable. Now God can teach him and develop his spiritual gifts so that he reaches his fullest potential. A person will not know his spiritual gifts until he surrenders.

You could be the best preacher the world has ever known. You might be the best musician on the face of the earth. Maybe you are the best manager, teacher, youth worker, or athletic director. God doesn’t care how talented you are; you can’t be a living sacrifice until you are a servant — and that means you have to surrender. Only then will you be all that you can be.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder