North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose by Matt Dobson

Rob and Tom apply for the same job and they take a written test. “You both got the same number of questions wrong,” the Human Resources manager tells them, “But Rob gets the job.” “Wait a minute,” Tom says, “If we both got the same number of questions wrong, how come he gets the job?” “Well,” says the HR manager, “One of his incorrect answers was better than yours.” “Whoa, how can that be?” Tom replied. “For problem #47, Rob wrote, “I don’t know”—you wrote, “Me neither”. It seems old Tom got caught. It’s better to be yourself and make a mistake, than to follow somebody else down a path that wasn’t meant for you. Be your own person. Discover yourself and what your good at. See what it is that makes you positively unique. The people I admire the most are those who have found ways tomaximize their own gifts. Knowing their strengths, knowing their trouble spots, and surrounding themselves with people who can help them achieve is the honest way to success.

I recall my running days in college. My first two years were spent studying and running cross country and track on scholarship at the University of West Florida. By the time I was a sophomore I was running first or second for the team at every meet. Due to academic goals and the fact I aspired to run for Florida State, a major NCAA Div. I powerhouse, I transferred. I went from being a big fish in a little pond to a little fish swimming in a big lake! My jobs were to study hard, train every day, and not let distractions hold me back. Because I found myself fighting for a spot on the team and because I wasn’t the number one runner anymore, the other FSU athletes were a challenge for me. I made friends quickly even though I was a small town boy from a rural area and most of my teammates were from cities much, much bigger than Jay, Florida. We were all different, but we were unique in our own way. Nevertheless, I had a job to do: earn my degree and run well to keep my athletic scholarship for cross country and track. My goal was to become the best I could be; to reach the maximum of my potential in both academics and athletics (1 Cor. 9:24). Because I surrounded myself with student-athletes that were as fast as and faster than me, my performance levels had to increase or I would get left in the dust, literally. I dropped almost a whole minute from my best 5K (3.1 miles) and 8K (4.98 miles) times and more than that for the 10K (6.2 miles) in the first year! And before graduating I was Florida State’s top distance runner for my senior track season.

I tell this story to illustrate the fact when you surround yourself with positive people that can challenge you to use your own specific gifts for the right reasons, you will in fact improve yourself. You can go from bad to good, good to better, and from better to best. God is in the business of giving the best to His children (Psalm 84:11). You must take what he has given you, recognize it’s from Him, and find ways to exercise it the way it was intended. Whatever your gift, talent, or job may be—dedicate it to God. Let Him be responsible to supply the fuel, the energy, and the resources that are needed to make you a success in your work. He promises this for us (Phil. 4:19). We must be faithful in our obedience. This is the key! When you get selfishand do your own thing, you forfeit God’s best. You and I were made to reap the benefits of God’s best in all that we do. So, don’t be prideful or egotistical, enjoy all people (God loves us all), but try to associate with folks that will help support your goals in life. Don’t choose, as your closest friends, people who will discourage you or bring you down (1 Cor. 15:33).

It’s not hard to discover God created all men and women differently. Yet, He loves us equally and endows us with what we need to individually succeed. The things that matter to God are how serious we take our duty and how hard we try to do the job we have. If we really try, that’s all anybody can require of us, including God. The difference in God and others is God will reward you with happiness and peace because you are faithful. One thing you must never forget, and hear me carefully—you are never just one in a crowd with God. You can delight in the fact that you yourself are a VIP (very important person). That’s why God created you in the first place. Finding what you are meant to do in life is fun and exciting. It can be frustrating at times because of setbacks, but it’s worth it.

The marvelous thing about using your gifts for the love of God and the love of service to others are not only are you happy in it, but you don’t have to worry about rewards. When used for the right reasons, you improve, you get better, you become more efficient, and in my case I got faster. Know the ultimate reason you improve is because God is glorified in the proper use of your gifts and talents. You prosper because your heart is right, your soul is in step with God, and the people you come in contact with are enriched because of you. If you have talents, and you do, believe in God and yourself. And because of God’s promises (Jude 1:24), surely as day follows night, God will bring it to pass. As you show yourself responsible with what you have and if you are fitted for bigger and better things, follow God’s plan for success (Prov. 16:3). Seek out people to challenge you. Don’t shy away from competition or people who may know more than you. Learn from them, improve your skills, elevate your game, pray for God’s direction, and be willing to follow Him. Sometimes God uses the tough times to prepare us to fulfill a dream for our lives. Continue to trust Him no matter what. Continue to believe that He has a grand plan for your life. Hope to see you in church on Sunday!

This weekly column is written by Matt Dobson. A graduate of Florida State University, Univ. of West Florida, and Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, he is Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in Jay, Florida and a 1LT Chaplain in the U.S. Army Reserves. Matt can be reached by email: He welcomes your thoughts concerning faith, belief, and Christian living. Visit the Living With Purpose website at

Posted by on Dec 2 2012. Filed under Living With Purpose, Local, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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