First Scripture — growing confidence in storytelling builds community
Every person on the earth holds a treasure inside of them. God placed a gift inside of you. He’s given you dreams, goals, talents, and influence that are uniquely specific to you.
Proverbs 18:16 says, “A man’s gift makes room for him, And brings him before great men” (NKJV).
Juan Bautista, a Christian from the Tepantlali Mixe people group in Mexico, was having a Moses moment. Juan was chosen to begin the Bible translation process by translating Bible stories for his people. But he felt so inadequate!
“I am a person who does not know how to read well. I do not speak Spanish well,” he said. Juan was known for his expertise with the language, yet he continued to feel uneasy about joining the team of five Tepantlali Mixe translators.
Moses knew that same fear, and he resisted God in the same way: “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent … I am slow of speech and slow of tongue” (Exodus 4:10, NKJV). But in verse 12, God promised to equip Moses: “I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.”
He did the same for Juan.
“Telling Bible stories in Mixe is food for the heart of the listener and the one who tells it.” Ruth Martinez, Tepantlali Mixe Bible Translator
As the project progressed, Juan gained confidence. He attended workshops where he learned the skill of Bible storytelling. He became a valued servant leader on the team, and he began leading a storytelling group on Thursdays in his home in Mosquito Blanco. Family and neighbors heard and practiced telling The Sower, Jesus Calms the Storm, and other stories.
Interestingly, a skill Juan thought he lacked actually strengthened the gift within him for God’s use. Oral cultures tend to internalize and memorize better than reading cultures. Sometimes, what we perceive as setbacks are what prepares us to operate successfully in our God-given gifts.
Now Juan says, “These stories have strengthened and encouraged me to help other people in my community.” As a result, Juan and his team have established the community’s first church, rooted in the Word of God. They report that God is using Scripture to change the way they relate to one another and how they live in everyday life. God’s Word really does change everything!
When God breathed His life into you, he created you to make a difference, to leave your mark. Your gift is not just for you, but something given to you to share with the world. Too often, we can let what-if thoughts talk us out of using our gifts.
So, what gifts has God placed inside of you?