The Great Puzzle Solver

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My father-in-law was a puzzler. By that I don’t mean that he was strange but that he loved completing puzzles. Whenever we visited, he had a huge puzzle laid out that covered about half of the ping pong table he had in the lower part of his bi-level home. He, my mother-in-law, and the kids would spend hours pouring over these 2,000-piece exercises in emotional exhaustion. I often got involved. I would pick up a piece and search for a location for what seemed like an hour. After several hundred attempts to fit the piece I was holding, I would quietly lay it down and resume some other activity. Others at the table seemed to have no trouble locating the right fit for the pieces that they held.

Sometimes our walk with God feels like my puzzle experience. 1 Peter 4:10-11 tells me that I have a gift, and I should use it to glorify God.

1 Peter 4:10-11
10 God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. 11 Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.

But sometimes we feel like I did with my puzzle piece, like we just don’t
know where we fit. But God has made you and gifted you in a special way. Every piece in the puzzles my father-in-law worked on was unique. It had a unique shape with it’s own portion of the picture to contribute. In the same way, God has fashioned each of us to fit in the body of Christ and complete the picture that he wants the world to see. God knows exactly where we fit. Too often we feel overwhelmed, afraid, or inadequate, and we let those special gifts go unused. As Paul wrote to Timothy, he encouraged him to fan the flame of the gift that was in him so he could be a blessing to the body of Christ and bring glory to God.

2 Timothy 1:5-7
5 I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. 6 This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

Most of the time, our problem is getting started. We stand at the starting gate, staring out over the field wondering if we should begin or not. But once someone steps into the role that God has prepared them for, there is no doubt that her or she will experience immense joy and fulfillment, just like Jesus intended. This is a key to the abundant life that Jesus promises to those who love and follow him. When we don’t use our gifts and talents to honor God and help others, we are like that puzzle piece put to the side. We aren’t contributing to the picture that God wants to show the world regarding his love, care, and compassion.

Nike has a slogan that fits this situation — Just Do It! God knows where we fit, and he gives us a passion for people or for activities. That passion acts like a pointer to help you discover where your piece of the puzzle fits. Perhaps your passion could lead you to start a Group to find and encourage others that share your passion. It could be that your passion would lead you to be part of the prayer ministry, student ministry, or one of several roles here at CedarCreek that seek to meet needs in the body of Christ. Don’t wait any longer. Put your piece on the puzzle board and see where it fits. Together we can show the world the picture of love and forgiveness that God is putting together.

What have your past experiences, your personality, and your passions prepared you to do to help others in the body of Christ?

What obstacles are keeping you from using your unique gifts to meet the needs of others at CedarCreek?

Next Steps:
Attend GrowthTrack! There you will find a clear definition of the spiritual journey and how your unique giftedness and personality can be used to glorify God and make a difference in the lives of others.

Start a Group centered on your passion. Seek to use that common bond with others to help them to take their next steps on their spiritual journey.

Seek out the leadership team at your campus and talk to them about your passion and how God has prepared you for ministry. Explore with them what your next steps should be as you seek to fit into the puzzle of God’s love and care.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the way in which you have gifted me and prepared me through the experiences of life. I have confidence that you know how I fit into the body of Christ and how I can glorify you by making a difference in the lives of others. Help me to identify my passion and give me wisdom as to how I should follow that passion to make a difference in the lives of those around me. May my heart be open to the path that you want me to walk. In Jesus’ name, amen.

This post was written by Terry McGraner. Terry is an engineer at Dana Corporation. He facilitates GrowthTrack and leads a Group at the South Toledo campus. He is married and the father of four adult sons. He loves spending time with his family and communicating the truth of God’s Word to make an impact in the lives of others.

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2 replies
  1. Cathy Thibodeau
    Cathy Thibodeau says:

    Great anology, Terry. Sometimes life is very much a puzzle!
    Thanks for your post.

  2. Julie Ann Roehl
    Julie Ann Roehl says:

    Thanks for sharing this unique take on my price of the puzzle. Wet timely TODAY as I struggled to find joy in my talent and serve my family. Yeah, God!

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