WebDef: Expertise

Ex·per·tise /ˌekspərˈtēz,ˌekspərˈtēs/ – Noun: Proficiency, skill, ability, or knowledge in a particular area. Competence or proficiency in a field of operation.

Your expertise, skills, giftedness and proficiencies add up to Special Skills, a key pillar of the Seven Pillar Methodology for social entrepreneurship. Below are scriptural references relating to this pillar. They illustrate the importance of using what we have been given – and focusing our efforts to take best advantage within our special skills – in the service of the greater good:

Select Verses on Putting Gifts to Use

According to Scripture, it's okay to have different levels of giftedness. The point is not to hide our gifts, but rather to use them in productive and positive service:

  • Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so. – Matt. 5:15
  • The kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money… – Matt 25:14-18

Select Verses on Diversity of Gifts

We all bring different skills, perspectives, and vision to the table and strengthen each other when we work in partnership, each supplying what the other lacks:

  • Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. – 1 Cor 12:4-6.

Scripture on the Primacy of Love

When we work within our area of expertise – within our gifts – we are more likely to be successful. But regardless of our gifts, we need to remain aware of the primacy of love, often referred to as charity in the KJV version of the Bible. Without love, none of it matters:

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. – 1 Cor. 13

The Bible is clear: though the Spirit works through us in diverse ways, the source of all gifts is God. Whatever our gifts, and whether we have been given a smaller or a greater portion, it is up to us to do well with our gifts. We are advised not to hide them, but to use them. As Peter puts it, "As everyone hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God." (1 Peter 4:10). Then, the promise remains: those who are faithful in small things will be given greater things.

The Story of Joseph, Son of Jacob

The first book in the Bible, Genesis, tells the story of Joseph, one of the heroes of the Bible. In every situation, Joseph put forth his best work, and the result was beautiful. Jacob was not the firstborn (he was 11th of 12), but he was his father's favorite. His father didn't hide it, giving him a multicolored coat. Joseph didn't help matters either, telling his brothers about his dreams of God's favor, as compared with them. The brothers left him in a well, and he was found and taken into slavery. Working in Potiphar's house, he exhibited the skill of stewardship, honesty and loyalty. Falsely accused and taken into prison, he exhibited the ability to interpret dreams. He correctly interpreted the Pharaoh's dream as predicting famine, and was set at the Pharaoh's right hand, storing away food for the coming barren season. His special skills were able to save the nation – and his own family – from starvation. Addressing his brothers, who had come to him for food, he summed up all that had happened, saying: "But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive." (Genesis 50:20). Jacob had forgiven his past and put his expertise to good use, setting an example of expertise in action.

What are WebDefs?

WebDefs – simple definitions of key terms relating to ministry and healing arts – are a regular feature of NHM Ministrants. Offered (where applicable) in conjunction with select key scriptural passages and analysis, WebDefs can be a useful starting place for exploring a topic of interest.

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