Column by Manning Pastor Sam Livingston: Carving out your niche with the talents and gifts God gave you


Everyone finds comfort in knowing that what they do in ministry, occupationally or volunteer services is what they have been gifted to do. In order to perform our duties with the best possible outcome, we must love what we do. Have you ever been served by a person in a customer service position who made you feel like your business was not appreciated? The attitude of the employee was just plain terrible. It was probably clear that the person really did not enjoy performing the duties associated with the position held. Contrary to the previous, a person who totally enjoys what he or she does can show up to work in the midst of personal tragedies, and you would never know.

I was watching a documentary on Steph Curry not long ago. I was amazed at the many obstacles he had to conquer before he reached the NBA. Here was a kid whose dad was one of the best shooting guards during his era in the NBA. Steph took forever to grow and accumulate some pounds on his frame. He had to learn how to shoot from up high as opposed to shooting from his hip. Even though he had become a prolific scorer in high school, colleges thought he was too small, too weak, etc. Even his dad's college alma mater passed on him. Deep down inside, Curry knew he could perform at the college level and one day play pro basketball. A small school in North Carolina, Davidson College, gave him a chance, and the rest is history that is still being written.

Curry never gave up on carving out his niche, even though so many around him did. Realize what was just said, Steph carved out his own niche. All he needed was a tool to do the carving. That tool was a basketball on a basketball court!

We start out by identifying the niche or calling. Then we must begin to assemble the tools needed for success. If you feel that real estate is your niche, then identify the tools needed to carve out your territory. If selling is your core thing, then study to pass the exam to become a real estate agent. Then find an agency to carve out your niche. If you want to be a broker, then perform at a broker's level while working as an agent. Start visualizing yourself in your own building with other agents working for you. You can't carve out anything complaining about the lack of opportunities, your financial dilemmas, your race, where you grew up, etc. Carving out your niche begins in the mind. "One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind:" Romans 14:5. What other people think of you and what you are capable of accomplishing in life are irrelevant. A newspaper editor told Walt Disney that he "lacked imagination"; can you imagine that? Billions of dollars later, I wonder what the editor said then.

Let those around you talk about you, with you, against you, or whatever they feel they need to say to belittle you. Your job is to acquire the tools needed to carve out your niche and don't look back. Keep carving and carving until you reach your full potential. God gave your talents and gifts to you, not your so-called friend, neighbor or sibling. What God has for you is for you! The result of the gift utilized in its intended purpose requires carving through situations, challenges, failure and sometimes people.

Final note, when you carve a roast, you cut off the fat and preserve the meat. The meat offers sustainability.

Sam Livingston is pastor of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Manning.