A person’s gift opens doors for him and brings him before the great.
– Proverbs 18:16
Do you see a person skilled in his work? He will stand in the presence of kings. He will not stand in the presence of the unknown. – Proverbs 22:29
I am always amazed at God. He is Creator, Master Architect, Expert Developer and so much more. Everything God does, He does it with excellence. And He desires that we do the same. One of God’s greatest desires is that all we do would bring Him glory. First Corinthians 10:31 say that whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. This is an example of what I like to call a Kingdom Principle, a fundamental principle by which one should live and that affects the kingdom of God.
A fundamental Kingdom Principle is mastering one’s craft. This principle is in perfect alignment with God’s will that when given gifts and talents, one must use them to glorify Him and serve others with these gifts. Also, this Kingdom Principle is directly correlated to doing things with excellence. Pastor Adrian Davis once said that “good is a sin when great is available”. Indeed, why choose “good” when God has placed great or excellence at our disposal? Therefore, it is important and your duty to master it or become an expert at whatever craft is directly related to your purpose.
When you know your purpose, you will find the direction that your life needs to take. In turn, you will know where to spend your energy and what you need to develop. As a result, you will know exactly which craft(s) requires more attention and further investment in terms of time and money. Mastering your craft is your responsibility. However, in order to know which craft to master, there are a few things that you must carefully consider. First, you must identify your calling. Though this may be the hardest part of the process, it is also the step you cannot afford to skip. You need to go back to your roots!
1) Identify your calling
To master your craft, you must first know what you have been called to do and why. You must know what God’s assignment to you is. To do so, you must go to the source: ask God. Then, question yourself:
What is the assignment that God has for me? Why this assignment?
What stirs a passion in me? What has attracted me since my childhood? What has always been part of my life? Is it a love for teaching? A love for sharing with others? A love of communities?
Often, the answer comes from a time in your life when things were simple, even when you were a child. Very early on, God begins to prepare us for our calling. He leaves subtle hints to us which show us the direction that He desires for us to take. For instance, take King David. As a boy and teenager, he was often found tending to his father’s sheep. He had to care for them and lead them not knowing that one day he would become the official “shepherd” of Israel, caring, leading and in charge of God’s nation until his death. Being a shepherd was part of his preparation and God’s subtle way of revealing to him what his future would entail.
In my case, as a child I loved teaching. I would line up dolls and pretend to be their teacher, delivering some of the greatest speeches written by a six-year-old. I loved using my voice when it came to subjects I was passionate about, especially to build others. Although I never imagined I’d be in public speaking delivering speeches, be at a pulpit to deliver a sermon, or write to encourage others in the faith, this is exactly where God had intended for me to be all along. Throughout my life, God left breadcrumbs here and there that would eventually make His revelation to me in regards to my life clear. What about you?
You need to make an honest assessment of your life and determine which breadcrumbs God left you when it comes to your calling? Where do you find your voice? What brings out your voice?
Once you know your calling, you will know which gifts you need to develop in order for you to successfully complete your assignment. Since your gifts are for others, in other words, to serve others, that leads you to the next point: finding your audience.
2) Find an audience who can benefit from your skills or service
Your craft is unique and useful to a particular audience. There are people who currently depend on it but you have not reached your potential yet. You need to identify the niche that can benefit from your craft. Finding your target audience will allow you to focus your energy and efforts on helping those who are at the heart of why you do what you do. It is within that niche that your skills will flourish. Once you have identified your “who”, meaning who are the ones you will serve, you need to consider if there is a potential for profitability.
3) Is profitability a possibility?
If your craft does not offer the potential for profitability, you simply have a hobby on your hands. The Bible tells us that a man should enjoy the good of all his labor because it is the gift of God (Ecclesiastes 3:13). When your craft can generate a source of income or profit from which you can live on, there’s a great chance you are operating in your purpose.
4) Become an expert
There are many people who are good at what they do but not many are experts in their fields. The experts and high achievers are really the ones everyone wishes they could turn to if money were no object. Whether one desires to hire an architect, consult a physician, or build a business, everyone wants the best of the best, meaning the expert. Experts are highly knowledgeable and have spent hours upon hours practicing in their field, learning and growing. No one becomes an expert overnight. Mastering your craft requires hours of investment and energy. Malcolm Gladwell, the author of Outliers, says that it takes on average 10 000 hours of practice to become a master or expert at what you do. Therefore, start practicing, learning, and growing. This is when you need to invest in yourself. As a result, you will need to use every tool at your disposal: formal education, networking with other experts in that field, attending workshops and events, reading on your field, etc. There is a great deal of knowledge available for you, use it! Don’t stunt your own growth because you refuse to invest in yourself.
4) Be honest with yourself
As you grow and flourish to become a master at your craft, you need to be honest with yourself about your interest. Are you interested to become an expert due to fame, wealth, or popularity? Be sincere. Those reasons will always lead you in the wrong direction.
5) Believe in yourself
As you move forward in your journey, you may doubt yourself and/or your abilities but don’t be discouraged. Remember that God has given you everything you need to pursue your purpose thus being able to master your craft. Whatever you need is already at your disposal. Each gift, talent, and skill that you need is already in you. Although there’s always room for improvement, remember that God chose you for a specific task and specific purpose. Believe that you have all you need in Jesus. And because He has given you everything you need, you can believe in yourself as His power is resting in you.
6) Remember why you started and refine your vision
Mastering a craft is never easy. It is certainly not a short process. It requires time, effort, and consistency. As time goes on, you may be tempted to give up so remember why you started. Above all, be patient with yourself and with your process. It is exactly that: a process. Nothing extraordinary has ever been built in a short time. The key to mastery is practice and dedication. As long as you keep practicing and dedicating yourself to your craft, mastery will surely come.
Finally, take the time to fine-tune your vision. With a clear written vision, you can accomplish much and step into all that God has for you. This vision needs to be refined and made clearer each time you look at it. Asking yourself “why this vision?”, “why this craft?”, will help you adjust and make changes when necessary. Think of your vision as a road map. Each time you take a look at your map, define how you can get to your desired outcome in a more efficient and effective way. A master always seeks to be and do better. How can you be and do better right now? How can you get closer to your vision?